Jefferson City Public Schools addresses overcrowding

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JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City Public Schools Superintendent Larry Linthacum will wrap up presentations for a possible solution to overcrowding at East Elementary School to students' families Wednesday night.

According to JCPS, Linthacum presented to East families Jan. 12, and Thorpe Gordon Elementary School families Tuesday night. Linthacum will speak to Moreau Heights Elementary School families Wednesday.

The JCPSA website said a possible solution for the overcrowding is to move the boundary line south of U.S. Highway 50/63 along Dunklin and Elm Streets, as well as an additional pocket around Hawthorne Park Apartments.  

Linthacum said this is how the boundaries used to be until they changed in 1989 to counteract overcrowding at Thorpe Gordon and Moreau Heights.

The proposed solution will bring East's numbers down from 403 to 337, while boosting Thorpe Gordon's numbers from 289 to 346 and Moreau Heights's numbers from 354 to 363, according to Linthacum.

Linthacum called to solution a "step in the right direction" towards recommended long-term plans that include an additional high school, an additional middle school, and two additional elementary schools.

 "We have space concerns throughout the district," Linthacum said. "With the boundary line changes, it's a step in the right direction and will help alleviate some of the space issues at East Elementary."

Linthacum said there are currently two trailers with students in them at Jefferson City High School, one trailer at Pioneer Trail Elementary School, one at East and a trailer for storage at Callaway Hills Elementary School.

The reaction from families has been positive, according to Linthacum.

Part of the reason for this, Linthacum said, is because of the approach JCPS is taking to address the issue of overcrowding.

"We're just trying to be very proactive and encourage folks to see our facilities to show that we do have a need, and then try to be proactive with those conversation," Linthacum said.

Not everyone is all for the plan, however. Dominique Moses's family would be affected by the change in boundary lines, which didn't sit well with Moses initially.

"They gave me a lot of trouble and made us move to here but now they're trying to move us back. So it's kind of frustrating because the kids go through a lot of emotional changes through those times," Moses said.

Moses is primarily concerned about her daughter, who despite only being a kindergartner, has already developed a connection with East.

"My kindergartner does not want to leave, and she is so in love with the school and the staff. It'll be hard for her, she'll probably need counseling," Moses said.

The solution will be on the agenda at the next school board meeting. If approved, it will take effect in the fall.

However, at the information session, Linthacum said fourth graders and their sibings have a one-year grace period so they can finish the fourt graders' elementary school years together.