The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 24, 2013

School redistricting plan scheduled for board vote

Changes to proposal being prepared

By Emily Younker
Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin Board of Education on Tuesday will consider a proposal that would redraw some of the school district’s attendance zones and change the schools that many students attend in the fall.

Board President Randy Steele said board members are expected to vote on the proposal. He said it has been modified since it was introduced to the public earlier this month, but he declined on Friday to discuss any changes to the plan, saying that administrators were still working out details.

“The modifications we’re looking at right now and will hopefully have those ready by Monday,” he said.

Under the proposal as it was presented Feb. 5, the redrawn boundaries, which dictate the schools that students attend based on their addresses, would mean that 24 elementary students from Jefferson would be moved to Columbia; 28 students from Cecil Floyd and 22 students from Stapleton would be moved to Irving; 84 students from McKinley would be moved to the elementary school at East Middle School; and 47 students from Royal Heights would be moved to McKinley.

The plan also would change the middle schools into which four elementary schools currently feed students. Cecil Floyd students would attend North Middle School instead of South Middle School; Royal Heights students would attend East instead of North; students at Kelsey Norman would attend South instead of East; and Emerson students, combined with Irving students, would attend South instead of North.

Administrators have said the plan was spurred by the consolidation of several schools after the May 2011 tornado as well as the post-storm population shift in the city. They also have said the changes are an attempt to balance enrollment, particularly among the middle schools; to ease overcrowding in schools already filled to capacity; to free space at schools located in the tornado zone, where growth is anticipated; and to balance percentages of students eligible for free and reduced-rate lunches.

More than half of the 14 parents who spoke on the proposal during a public hearing last week said they did not favor it, citing their unhappiness with their children attending a different middle school and their concern about the speed with which the plan has moved through administration. Most of them were parents of Cecil Floyd students.

In other business Tuesday, the board will:

• Discuss the calendar for the 2013-14 academic year. The board will accept public comments on the proposed calendar between its work session and its regularly scheduled meeting.

• Consider approval of several construction-related items, including a bid package for metal studs, drywall and ceilings at East Middle School, as well as a bid package for communications and security and a proposal for boring at the high school.

• Consider approval of a six-day trip to Orlando, Fla., during spring break 2014 for the Joplin High School band to compete and perform.

Meeting details

The Joplin Board of Education will meet for a work session at 5:30 p.m. and its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the administration building, 3901 E. 32nd St. Closed sessions for discussion of legal and real estate matters and personnel issues are scheduled to follow each meeting.