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CPS boundary options include ending feeder schools

Columbia Public Schools officials presented new school boundary lines at a district work session Thursday morning.

A parent told ABC 17 News a protest was planned before the meeting. However, reporters saw only one sign hung inside a car window saying “Let them Finish.”

Jennifer Roberts started a group called Start2Finish in her efforts to make sure the district allows students to stay in their current high schools when boundary lines are redrawn.

“All we’re asking for is that every high schooler be given the opportunity to finish school where they started,” Roberts said.

Roberts said she has 251 parents on board in her group now, fighting to lengthen the redrawing process.

“In other words, we’re just looking to slow out the rollout process, which is what other communities do,” Roberts said.

The new boundary lines are being crafted because CPS is building a new middle school in south Columbia to relieve overcrowding at Gentry Middle School.

Scott Leopold with Cooperative Strategies presented four options Thursday. Under one option, students at Jefferson Middle School would attend Hickman High School when they move up. Jefferson students currently are sent to Rock Bridge High School when they move up.

Under a second option Jefferson students are also sent to Hickman but the boundary line between Rock Bridge and Hickman will shift. A third option would split Jefferson students between Hickman and Rock Bridge and move some students from West Middle School to Jefferson. A fourth option ends the feeder system altogether.

“Option 4 has the biggest impact on high school students and the biggest impact on socioeconomic balancing,” Leopold said.


The district’s chief operations officer gave the presentation to a full room.

“Do we want to have schools that reflect our community or do we want to have schools that are more efficient from a transportation standpoint,” Leopold said.

A survey link available here provides a detailed explanation how each option affects individual schools and neighborhoods.

Open houses are scheduled in January to give a full presentation of the options:

6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 9 at the Gentry cafeteria 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 10 in the Battle High School media center 1 to 3 pm. Jan. 11 at the Aslin Administration Building

The survey will stay open online through Jan. 14.

The consultants will then collect the data and bring it to the board on Jan. 24. Board members will then make the final decision in either February or March.

New boundary lines will take effect April 2020.

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