JCPS superintendent explains how district plans to address issues at East Elementary

JCPS superintendent explains how...

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Jefferson City Public Schools officials gave a community presentation at East Elementary School on Monday and answered questions about the upcoming April ballot issues.

But some parents said they still had concerns over East Elementary School.

ABC 17 News reported the board of education approved putting a $130 million bond issue and operating tax levy on the ballot earlier this month in hopes of building a second high school.

At the previous community presentation and board meeting, many parents asked why the district would not address pressing needs at the elementary school with the bond issue and tax levy.

Parents said the school has issues with overcrowding, tiny room sizes, low test scores and a high percentage of the district's poverty population.

But the JCPS long-range planning committee determined a second high school was the first priority in solving the districtwide space needs, according to Superintendent Larry Linthacum.

ABC 17 News reported the district plans to ask for a $30 million no tax-increase bond issue in 2021 to solve the elementary and middle school needs.

East Elementary School parent Sonya Spruiell said she's been waiting years for the district to build a new elementary school on the east side of town.

"I've had four children go through here, and I've heard this a lot and I've never really heard a date," Spruiell said. "I remember when they bought the land they projected so many years, but they never gave us a date. But now we actually have a year."

Linthacum said he will also ask board members to consider changes to elementary school boundary lines at the February meeting to help alleviate overcrowding at East Elementary until then.

The proposed boundary changes would reduce enrollment at East Elementary by about 66 students, according to Linthacum.

ABC 17 News asked district leaders how else they will address other needs, including low test scores, at the elementary school in the meantime.

"What is important for me to see happen going forward is to make sure that our staff have the resources that they need to be able to assess kids in a more effective fashion and a faster fashion so we make our staff more effective," school board vice president Steve Bruce said.

JCPS officials have previously said about $3 million generated from the proposed operating tax levy would go to needed K-12 resources, such as new textbooks and technology.



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