Macon and Shelby County Schools Redistricting

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CLARENCE - More than county lines divide the Macon and Shelby County school districts and the residents that live in them.

After a petition gained enough signatures, a proposition was added to the August 7 ballot that would redistrict an area of Shelby County R-IV into Macon County R-I. Clarence Elementary and South Shelby's middle and high schools would be primarily effected.

Under Missouri’s Average Daily Attendance law, Macon County schools could see a funding increase while Shelby County schools' funding would be slashed if the proposition passes.

Shelby County R-IV’s superintendent Tim Maddex said the impact would be significant.

"We’re looking at a loss of a million dollars in local revenues, and then a loss of about $800,000 in state revenues, which will take place over a three-year period," he said.

Maddex said finding ways to keep the school functioning at the same capacity would be difficult. Either cuts to district programs could be made or the district would ask the community for a tax increase to make up for the financial loss from redistricting.

"That’s a huge concern for us as a district is 'How do you move forward if it was to take place?'" he said.

Approximately 250 students would be moved from Shelby County schools to Macon’s.

Macon R-I superintendent Scott Jarvis said the school district is prepared for an increase in students. The school recently broke ground on a new building for third, fourth and fifth grade students.

"If I had to take all of the kids this year, I would be in a little bit of trouble because, right now, we're building a new building and we're trying to consolidate some classrooms," he said. "After we get our building built, it wouldn't be near as big of an issue."

Jarvis said the new building is expected to be finished by December.

Colby Harre, a senior in the Shelby County school system, said he turns 18 years old in a month and plans to vote against the proposition.

"Everybody has it in the back of their mind, like 'hey, this is a real possibility,'" he said. "But I feel like we’ve all just come together on this. We just got to get it out there to vote no on it so we can keep our district whole."

Susan McCarty, a former educator and board member in the Shelby County school system, supports the propostion.

"It is about our children’s education, and I do believe Macon has a lot to offer," she said.

McCarty also wrote a letter to the editor of the Macon Home Press.

"While change is difficult, it doesn't have to be a tragedy," McCarty said. "Students will handle a change in schools, only as well as, the adults in their life handle a change in schools. We must look to the future, and grab hold of those opportunities that come along."