The Board of Education of Jefferson City Public Schools approved an agreement Monday night with city government on who's to pay to build a new street adjacent to Capital City High School, and it's now up to the Jefferson City Council to make the final decision.
The JCPS board approved an agreement that would have the city reimburse the school district for up to and no more than exactly $1.5 million for the design and construction of a new road between Creek Trail and Mission drives.
Capital City High School is currently under construction, located between Creek Trail and Mission drives off Missouri 179. The city's second public high school is expected to be complete enough to open for its first students in August 2019.
Under the proposed agreement with the city that the school district's board approved Monday, any cost in excess of $1.5 million for building the new street would be covered by the district. The city would not be obligated to pay the district until Nov. 1, 2019 — and only after the district would have submitted to the city an itemized list of costs incurred by the district for the street project.
If building the new street costs less than $1.5 million, the city would allow the school district to use any remaining funds for "improvements to Lewis and Clark Drive or Union Street, or for design and construction of enhanced crosswalks on Jackson Street at Thorpe Gordon Elementary or on Linden Drive at South Elementary."
Jefferson City officials and a JCPS parent expressed in October concerns about safety and traffic at crosswalks at Thorpe Gordon and South to the Jefferson City Public Works and Planning Committee.
Union Street is where Jefferson City High School is located, and Lewis and Clark Middle School is on Lewis and Clark Drive.
Under the agreement approved Monday, the school district agreed the city would vacate its responsibilities for Union between Lafayette and Jackson streets, and Lewis and Clark at that middle school's campus.
That means after the city's vacation of ownership of those stretches of road, the school district would be responsible for maintenance such as snow removal on those street sections.
In exchange, the school district would only have to pay half of all applicable inspection and construction permit fees on its two high school projects underway — Capital City High School's construction and Jefferson City High School's renovation.
JCPS' chief financial and operating officer Jason Hoffman did not immediately, Monday night, have the exact estimate of how much that would save the district.
Hoffman and JCPS Director of Facilities and Transportation Frank Underwood told the board that the district already has the adequate snow removal equipment, and that any extra costs incurred would be a question of pay for district staff for the extra time needed to clear the streets.
Hoffman said the district just received the agreement back from attorneys Monday, though he said discussions with the city and Cole County on the subject have been happening since 2013, when the district bought the land for Capital City High School.
The quickly approaching opening of Capital City High School has prompted the school district to discuss other proposed changes, including moving school start times to better suit considerations of the financial costs of bus routes and potential improvements to older students' academic performance with more sleep through a later start time.
No decisions were made concerning that on Monday, but the district announced it's hosting two town hall meetings open to anyone in the community — not just parents of school children — to discuss thoughts of adjusting school start times.
The first town hall would be at 6 p.m. Jan. 29 at Lewis and Clark Middle School, and the second town hall would be at 5 p.m. Jan. 31 at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.
Hoffman said the board would then be asked for final approval on any start time adjustments at its March meeting.