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No changes Tuesday to JCPS boundary line committee's work

No changes Tuesday to JCPS boundary line committee's work

March 21st, 2018 by Phillip Sitter in Local News

Jefferson City Public Schools' boundary line committee met again Tuesday, mainly just to hear an update from JCPS Superintendent Larry Linthacum on meetings with parents he's had since the committee last met.

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The committee is tasked with adjusting the district's middle school attendance lines to try to ensure equity in enrollment and the percentage of students eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunch at Capital City High School and Jefferson City High School.

The committee formed late last fall and last met in February. Linthacum shared with committee members present Tuesday the information he's gathered through meetings with parents at Lawson, Cedar Hill, Thorpe Gordon and South elementary schools.

A suggestion that's emerged from those conversations, he said, is grandfathering in students who enter seventh grade in the fall of 2019, meaning students who will have begun to attend one of the district's middle schools in the fall of 2018 who then perhaps find themselves living in the other middle school's attendance area next year be allowed to finish school where they choose.

Nothing changed Tuesday night in terms of the committee's work so far; the committee didn't conduct any other work after Linthacum's update. Five scenarios that have been pushed forward as the most optimal remain so, as do the scenarios that have been tabled — but not removed — from discussion.

All of the committee's scenarios are available through the district's website at www.jcschools.us/Page/16097. Each scenario provides information on the projected enrollment and free or reduced-price lunch eligibility percentages at both high schools, as well as the specific changes proposed under each scenario for which middle school that elementary schools' or portions of current elementary schools' attendance areas would go to.

The demographer working with the committee — Preston Smith, owner and manager of Business Information Services — has said variance between the two high schools' poverty demographics should ideally be about 10 percent or less from the median. Linthacum said the district would like the difference to be within about 5 percent.

Poverty is often measured in education policy using the percentage of students who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Linthacum said he's working on rescheduling a meeting with parents from West Elementary School and meetings for parents of middle school students have been scheduled for next month — April 3 at Thomas Jefferson Middle School and April 10 at Lewis and Clark.

Larger town hall meetings at the middle schools for the broader community are yet to come after the committee has narrowed its proposed scenarios down to a couple for the community to analyze.

The district's Board of Education will ultimately approve any changes to the attendance boundary lines, and the goal is to have that happen by August to give the community a year's notice of any changes to take effect in the fall of 2019.