By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
BOONEVILLE – Jumpertown parents and students have staved off another attempt at closing down the high school, at least for now.
Circuit Judge Thomas Gardner last week ruled the Prentiss County School Board must delay any action to close Jumpertown High School until the state Board of Education has approved a plan to shut it down, said Booneville attorney Daniel Tucker, who represents the plaintiff families.
The ruling prompted the school board, in a special meeting, to scrap the plan to close the school beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, Tucker said.
Tucker said he was told the Prentiss County School Board will conduct a feasibility study of the entire district to determine how district leaders should proceed for the 2011-2012 school year.
Questions of whether and how to reorganize the Prentiss County School District have been ongoing for almost two years.
A restructuring plan that would have closed grades nine through 12 at Jumpertown beginning this fall was adopted Jan. 20, the third plan approved by the school board in less than a year in the board’s stated effort to save money.
The district currently has two K-8 schools; three K-12 schools and one 9-12 school.
After working for several months with a volunteer consultant, the board approved a plan in April 2009 to have two K-4, two 5-8 and two 9-12 schools countywide.
After months of protests over transportation issues, and lobbying by each community to retain its local schools, the board adopted another plan in September 2009 to have four K-6 elementary schools and two 7-12 high schools in the county.
Again, the plan attracted heated objections over school closings and reorganizations, and eventually the most recent plan was adopted.
Through it all the Prentiss County district – like others throughout the state – has had to contend with state funding cuts of $582,000 in September 2009 and an additional $372,000 in January 2010, a reduction of about 8.65 percent of allocated funding.
The district began the school year with a reserve fund of about $1.4 million, but is expected to end the current school year with a reserve fund reduced to about $500,000.
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.