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Jackson R-2 Board approves elementary school redistricting for next year

The Jackson R-2 School Board approved redistricting for the elementary buildings at its Nov. 14 meeting. The focus of the redistricting is to evenly balance enrollment at Orchard and West Lane.

Superintendent Dr. John Link said another goal of redistricting was to make more sense of border placement.

“We had some lines that were basically running through people’s backyards,” Link said. “We tried to find some areas where we could determine a specific place for that line, but we didn’t want to interfere with the existing elementary schools much, because we didn’t want to upset the apple cart and move kids around.”

The boundaries at East and North stay exactly the same. South Elementary has been adjusted to take some of the land that currently went to Gordonville. Link said many of the students affected by that change already go to South.

Millersville, which will become a K-2 school, had its boundaries change, giving some of its area to West Lane. Highway D will now be the boundary between Millersville and West Lane, and Farmington Road will be the line between West Lane and Orchard.

“We looked at many, many models, and we looked at the numbers back and forth,” Link said. “Our transportation software allows us to pinpoint areas and tell us how many kids we have living in that area.”

Link said that on the district Web site, a program will be added where people can type in any address in the District and find out their elementary school and bus route.

“The one thing we wanted to do was to have this approved by November, to our teachers and administrators in December and to our parents by January,” Link said.

Link added that would give them time to change the boundaries if there is something that needs to be fixed.

Parents who are affected will receive a letter in January, and the District will hold a night where parents can ask questions and look at the maps.

“I’d like to say this will be a fix for a long time, but you just never know with the amount of building [in the district],” Link said.

He said they expect new housing to come soon near East, West Lane and Millersville, and that was taken into consideration with making the new map.

In other action:

• The board set filing dates for the April 3 election. Those wishing to run for the school board can file during regular business hours at the district office starting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 12. Filing will end at 5 p.m. on Jan. 16.

The seats currently held by Kelly Waller and Sheila King are up for election. Both seats are three-year terms.

• The board received a report from the law firm CliftonLarsonAllen about their recent audit on the school district. The school district received a clean opinion and there were no findings to report.

• The Jackson Ministerial Alliance was recognized for their support of the Power Pack Program. The organization recently donated $21,479 to help the foundation reach their goal of $44,200.

The alliance said they saw this program as a great way to work together with the schools, especially when it comes to meeting the hunger needs in the community.

When the foundation changed the backpack program to the Power Packs this year, the cost for the program increased. Dr. Link thanked the Ministerial Alliance and said now they can start plans for next year.

• Band faculty and marching band members were invited to the meeting to talk about the recent band program accomplishments.

There were 177 students in the marching band this year, and they competed in two marching invitational. At one they took the grand championship and at the other they won first place for class five for the southeast Missouri region.

Recently, they had 59 senior high students and 53 junior high students make the All-District Band. They are also getting ready for All-State auditions, the Christmas parade in Jackson and other performances before winter break.

• Choir members were also recognized at the meeting. Over 70 Jackson students made Southeast All-District Choir. At the All-District event, eight out of the 24 total All-State Choir members and alternates that come from southeast Missouri were Jackson students.

• North Elementary brought four students from various extra-curricular activities they are involved with. The students talked about Chess Club, Recycling Club, Choir and a fantasy football club. Besides providing fun experiences for the students, the clubs are a stepping-stone for the students to participate in activities when they get to the secondary schools.

• The board approved bids for the Jackson Middle School project from Fronabarger Concreters, Brockmiller Construction, Foeste Masonry, Huffman Roofing, Raider Mechanical, Associated Sheet Metal and KT Power Systems. The district is currently $100,000 under budget on the construction project.

• The board decided to split the mowing jobs for the district between Burnett Landscape and DJ Landscaping and Lawn Care.

Burnett will mow at West Lane, Orchard, Gordonville, East Elementary, the junior high school and the high school.

DJ Landscaping will mow North Elementary, South Elementary, Millersville, the middle school, the district office and the area around the baseball fields.

• The board approved the transportation program evaluation. The department procedures focus on safety and providing cost-efficient transportation services to resident students.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past four years. He can be reached at cbjedit@socket.net.

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