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Jefferson City Schools considering two new buildings to address overcrowding

Seven middle and elementary school buildings in the Jefferson City School District will use trailers next year to fit every student comfortably, which is not ideal, according to Superintendent Larry Linthacum.

“(A trailer) can be a learning environment, but it’s not part of ours to become a premier school district in the state," Linthacum said at Monday's Board of Education meeting.

The problem is forcing teachers to get creative with the spaces available.

“Closets have been decorated so they look like nice spaces, but they’re out of capacity to be any more creative than they can possibly be," said Brenda Hatfield, the district's director of quality improvement.

The district is looking to address overcrowding at elementary and middle schools, and a leading idea to do so involves dividing up certain grades.

The leading idea after Monday's board meeting was two buildings specifically for 5th and 6th-grade students. District staff also presented the pros and cons of building two elementary schools, two middle or some other combination.

Building two "5-6" buildings, though, would not require an increase in the local operating tax rate, according to district CFO Jason Hoffman.

Jefferson City Schools opened up Capital City High School to students for the first time this school year. Linthacum said he does not want to ask voters for another tax rate increase, which was necessary to building CCHS and renovate Jefferson City High School.

Linthacum and other board members ended the meeting saying they should gauge public interest in 5-6 schools, which he said was the most economical option.

The board could approve of a proposal at its January meeting, which would put the question on the April 2020 ballot. If approved, the new buildings could be open to students as soon as 2022.

Cole / Education / Jefferson City / Jefferson City Public Schools / News / Video
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Barry Mangold

Barry Mangold reports for ABC 17 News on weekday evenings and anchors weekend evening broadcasts.

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