Jefferson City Superintendent talks new high school boundaries

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JEFFERSON CITY – Parents are now one step closer to finding out which high school their children will attend in the capital city.

The Jefferson City School District Boundary Committee met Monday night to discuss possibilities for a new map to determine which students will attend which high school. The district is scheduled to open a new high school in fall 2019.

The boundary committee has 32 volunteer members representing all the current schools in the district. They discussed possibilities that would include splitting up elementary school students and keeping them together.

"We have a number of different scenarios and I don't think anyone here thinks they know the exact right answer and that's why we're having these type of meetings," said Brad Bates, who represents East Elementary School on the committee.

District Superintendent Larry Linthacum said two of the main factors when drawing the new boundaries are student population sizes consistent among schools and a similar number of kids near the poverty line.

"Our ultimate goal is that it doesn't matter where you send your child that it's a quality education. But we also recognize there are neighborhood schools, there are traditions," Linthacum said.

He said it is likely students attending Lewis and Clark Middle School will attend the current high school and those at Thomas Jefferson Middle School will go to the new school.

In April 2017, Jefferson City residents passed a bond issue to build the new high school.

Linthacum said the new high school is needed because the current one is at capacity with around 2,500 students in attendance. He said after the new school is complete, he expects about 1,300 students to attend each school.

Currently freshman must attend Simonsen Ninth Grade Center in Jefferson City prior to attending the high school. After the new school opens, freshmen will attend each high school.

The district is scheduled to break ground on the new school Saturday, Feb. 10. Linthacum said the district will announce the high school's name at the ceremony.

The new high school will be located at Route 179 and Mission Drive in Jefferson City.