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Our Opinion: Help shape future education

It’s your turn, patrons of the Jefferson City public schools.

Public forums and open houses will be held this month to discuss options that will shape the future of secondary education in the district.

Public forums at 7 p.m. Thursday and again April 12 will include presentations and breakout sessions.

Open houses from 5-7 p.m. on both April 19 and 21 will offer an informal opportunity to browse displays on possible facilities and academy concepts.

All four events — to be held in the Jefferson City High School cafeteria — will focus on three recommendations advanced by a Secondary Education Task Force created in 2009 by Superintendent Brian Mitchell.

The three options are:

• Construct a second high school with amenities similar to the existing high school, as well as renovate the existing complex.

• Renovate and expand the existing high school complex, along with renovation or reconstruction of Nichols Career Center and Thorpe Gordon Elementary School.

• Renovate and expand the existing high school complex and include satellite locations, including Simonsen 9th Grade Center, for some classes.

Each option is estimated to cost between $50 million to $60 million.

Additional discussion will focus on “21st Century Education,” which includes reading, math, science and social studies, but also emphasizes critical thinking and problem solving.

“Our hope,” MItchell said of the upcoming events, “is that people throughout the district will come to these events, look at what the committee has prepared and share their thoughts.”

We share that hope and encourage participation.

These are your public schools, supported by your tax dollars.

And these events are your opportunity to help determine future facilities, curriculum and educational approaches.

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