By Chris Kieffer
TUPELO – The consolidation of Carver and Church Street student populations will proceed this fall with kindergarten and first-grade students located on Carver’s campus and second-grade students placed at Lawhon Elementary.
During a specially-called meeting on Wednesday afternoon Tupelo’s School board voted unanimously to support the configuration. The move will be a temporary one until a permanent facility can be built for Carver and Church Street students.
The district has not yet determined how it will use Church Street Elementary next year.
Lawhon Elementary has been used as a third- to fifth-grade feeder school for students from Carver and Church Street, which had both been used as K-2 schools.
Lawhon principal Christy Carroll, who was at Wednesday’s meeting, said that her school would not have any trouble accommodating the approximately 155 second-grade students it would receive. She said that the school would be able to separate the second- and third-grade students from the fourth- and fifth-graders throughout the day, with the only possible exception being at breakfast.
Carroll said the school had extra space that it was using for labs and intervention classrooms, but added that it will still be able to find space for those things. The school’s new enrollment will be about 600.
The district had voted in March to consolidate Carver and Church Street, its two smallest schools, in order to provide better services. The original plan was to put portable classrooms on Carver’s campus to accommodate the larger student population, but the district learned last week that the cost of doing so would be more than $500,000 beyond what it had budgeted.
District officials said they will immediately begin planning for a new facility to house all of the K-2 students. That could include a new building on either the Carver or Church Street campus or a new school. They hope to have such a facility ready within 18 to 24 months.
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