Columbia Schools to Let Out Early for Heat
COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools officials announced Thursday the district will dismiss classes at non-air-conditioned schools early Friday. The junior highs dismissing early are Jefferson Junior High and West Junior High. Both will dismiss at 11:30 a.m. The elementary schools affected include Lee, Midway Heights, New Haven, Ridgeway, and Two-Mile Prairie. The elementaries will be released at 12:30.
Even with the shortened days coming, district officials said the first day was the smoothest first day they could remember.
Max Elliott is a third grader at New Haven and he said the first day was 50 percent fun, but he knows what school days are 100 percent fun. "Like early dismissal days and like field trips," said Elliott.
Elliott also felt that the first day of school was just like a normal school day. Across town at Lee Elementary, Principal Karen Burger felt the first was fantastic.
"So the kids coming in and being excited about being back, after a summer," said Burger, "They've enjoyed their summer off and now they're ready to be learners."
Columbia Superintendent Chris Belcher said even though the first day went well, there are still concerns as the district continues to grow.
"We got rid of eleven trailers, we still have 151 mobile classroom units," said Belcher, "We've got a lot of transition left. But what this community has said (is) do it in a conservative pace. I think at the end of seven years we'll have the trailers out of this district and have more permanent educational structures."
Belcher also discussed the issue of non-air-conditioned schools.
"Seven schools still don't have air conditioning. We need to take care of that," said Belcher.
The unofficial attendance numbers for Columbia Public Schools were also released on the first day of school. The district grew about one percent--or about 177 students.
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