West and Jefferson Junior High Schools to Release Students Early Tuesday

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COLUMBIA - Students at two Columbia junior high schools will be released early Tuesday due to the heat. Students at West and Jefferson Junior high schools will be released at 11:30 a.m. on September 4. This is the 7th time this year these schools have had early dismissal due to heat.

West Junior and Jefferson Junior high schools are the only two schools left in the Columbia Public School district without air conditioning. Students at the two schools have been early dismissed multiple times this school year.

Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher told KOMU that putting air conditioning in these schools will cost between $3.5- 4 million per building. The district expects to put bids out to contractors within the next few weeks, and have air conditioning in at least West Junior High by next August.

The state requires schools to provide 1,044 hours of instruction time each year. Both West Junior High School and Jefferson Junior High School already have more than enough hours scheduled for the year, so Belcher says at this point the schools don't have to make up for any of the missed days of school.