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story.lead_photo.caption In this Nov. 24, 2015, file photo, students walk along a sidewalk near Pioneer Trail Elementary School. Photo by News Tribune file photo

The Jefferson City School District policy review committee recommended district administration hire a firm to reassess boundary lines and voted to recommend the Board of Education adopt a telework policy Tuesday.

The committee 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 of Education or superintendent.

The committee recommended district administration prepare a request for proposal to hire a firm to review and assess the boundary lines and recommend changes. Administration will ask the Board of Education for approval before hiring a firm.

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 two years ago 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 committee.

The policy states that changes in attendance areas or transfer of students may be necessary as population and enrollment shifts within the district.

"With the enrollment numbers that are starting to come in, I think it's time for us to address the attendance," Rowden said.

Anticipated enrollment numbers were unavailable Tuesday afternoon, JC Schools Communications Director Ryan Burns said.

The 2022-23 school year is the earliest the district could apply attendance area changes, Superintendent Larry Linthacum said.

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.

Under the district's policy, Linthacum will recommend to the board any changes on school attendance areas, and the board will make a final decision.

The policy also states administration is required to report next school year's estimated enrollment data for each attendance area at each June Board of Education meeting. The next board meeting is June 14.

The telework policy, recommended by Chief of Learning Shelby Scarbrough, is a new policy created due to telework suddenly becoming expected during the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy will be brought before the Board of Education for a final vote.

There wasn't a telework policy before, but the district did allow employees who were quarantined but not sick to work remotely.

"It's important to have this in place just to show that we'll recognize it with guidance and direction from direct supervisors and that someone can revise or withdraw permission to allow someone to telework," Scarbrough said.

In general, the proposed policy states, the district prefers employees work at their assigned buildings or offices "to build relationships with students and families, ensure appropriate supervision and enable collaboration with co-workers."

However, there are some positions that require employees to occasionally work remotely.

"There are other occasions where telework might increase district and student access to qualified employees, decrease absenteeism, be an appropriate accommodation for a disability or be a necessary alternative to closing district operations completely during an emergency," the proposed policy states.

"Unless there is a district emergency or disruption of operations, telework will be approved only when the district benefits from the arrangement and employees can effectively complete their job duties remotely," according to the proposed policy.

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