The Jefferson City School District will possibly have new boundary lines by the 2022-23 school year.
In May, the district's policy review committee recommended the district hire a firm to reassess boundary lines. The district issued a request for proposal July 7, and the Board of Education is expected to review and approve a contract Aug. 17, Interim Chief Operating Officer Dawn Berhorst said at the July 12 board meeting.
The district plans for the contractor to review the boundary lines through the fall semester and recommend changes to the district. It will conduct a demographic study, put together five to seven scenarios for the district to consider, develop a report, and present recommendations at a board meeting for the board to approve, Berhorst said.
The district will also ask the contractor to provide the address-look-up tool currently on the district's website, which shows all boundary lines and allows anyone to type in an address to determine which elementary, middle or high school a student would attend.
"We want to make sure we're able to provide that same service," Berhorst said.
The board is expected to review and approve new boundary lines Jan. 10. If approved, the lines will be applied for the 2022-23 school year.
At the policy review committee meeting, Superintendent Larry Linthacum said he believes it's an "opportune time" to reassess boundary lines as the district is considering solutions to address crowding in grades kindergarten through eight. The district expects to bring a bond issue to voters in April 2022 to address overcrowding.
The board adopted a policy in 2019 that requires a formal review of the geographic attendance areas designated for each school at least every three years or as deemed necessary by the board or superintendent. The policy states changes in attendance areas or transfer of students may be necessary as population and enrollment shift within the district.
The district adjusted boundary lines when it built Pioneer Trail — which affected Pioneer Trail, Belair and West elementary schools — and at Thorpe Gordon Middle School and Cedar Hill Elementary School in 2018 when Capital City High School was built.
But the district has not redrawn boundary lines districtwide since about 1994, said Lindsey Rowden, board treasurer and chairwoman of the policy review committee.
JC Schools' enrollment increased by 736 students from 2008-2015, but it stayed about the same from 2016-2020, with an average of about 8,777 students, according to data on the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's website.
There was a sudden drop in enrollment from the 2019-20 to 2020-21 school year, possibly because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Enrollment declined by 564 from the previous year, according to district data.