The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 24, 2013

Redistricting tops Joplin school board’s agenda again

By Emily Younker
Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. — For the second month in a row, the proposed redistricting of Joplin schools will be the primary focus of members of the Board of Education when they meet Tuesday.

Board President Randy Steele said the board likely will vote on the proposal.

“What that vote is, I don’t know, but I do expect a vote,” he said.

The plan as proposed by the school district would redraw some of the district’s attendance zones, which designate the schools that students attend based on their addresses. About 200 current elementary students would be rezoned to different elementary schools next year. The proposal also would redirect students at Cecil Floyd, Royal Heights, Kelsey Norman and Emerson schools to different middle schools, and would introduce a permit option at the middle school level.

The proposal was recommended by a committee of faculty and parents to account for population shifts in the wake of the May 2011 tornado. Administrators have said the plan is also an attempt to balance enrollment, particularly among the middle schools, and to ease overcrowding at schools that are near capacity.

The board originally was set to consider the proposal at its Feb. 26 meeting, less than a month after it had been publicly introduced to the board and to parents. After five people — four of them parents of Cecil Floyd students — spoke against the proposal at that meeting, the board unanimously postponed its vote, with several members saying they wanted time to gather more input from parents.

The district held three information sessions for parents on March 12. The next day, it was presented with an alternative redistricting scenario that was put together by several parents from Cecil Floyd. Their scenario proposed only to shift the boundaries of certain elementary schools with the objective, they said, of keeping students in the elementary and middle schools that they live near and of balancing enrollment numbers.

Steele said the board will consider both the district’s proposal and the Cecil Floyd parents’ proposal during a work session preceding its regular meeting. Any votes on the issue will take place during the meeting, he said.

“We’re going to present both options to the board, and do the pros and cons on both options,” he said. “We’ll have an hour or two to discuss that in a work session and hopefully get all those questions answered at that point.”

Steele said he expects two separate votes by the board: one on the overall redistricting proposal and another on the grandfathering option that the district has recommended to allow students to remain in their current schools under certain circumstances.

In other business Tuesday, the board will consider:

• A $9.2 million bid from PCI for drywall and a $3.8 million bid from DH Pace for general trades at the new Joplin High School and Franklin Technology Center.

• A $15,000 bid from Cardinal Roofing to replace a leaky roof over the library at North Middle School.

• A $36,000 proposal from Corner Greer and Associates for architectural services for road and parking lot improvements at South Middle School.

• A $482,492 bid from Pearson Learning for new communications arts materials and a $52,445 bid for math materials for elementary students.

• A name for the new elementary school next to East Middle School. It will house students from Duquesne and Duenweg schools.

Closed sessions for discussion of legal and real estate matters and personnel issues have been scheduled after both the meeting and the work session that precedes it.

Meeting details

The Joplin Board of education will meet at 5 p.m. for a work session and at 7 p.m. for its regular meeting Tuesday at the administration building, 3901 E. 32nd St.