By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
BOONEVILLE – Monday’s Prentiss County School Board meeting held an oft-repeated scene during the past year the county courtroom packed to capacity with parents, students, school employees and other interested individuals, mostly from the Jumpertown community.
The crowd came to the meeting to lodge their protests of the most recent reorganization plan for the district that was passed at a Jan. 20 special school board meeting.
The new plan calls for a restructuring in stages, with grades 9-12 being eliminated at Jumpertown High School beginning in the fall, and the campus retaining grades K-8.
The next phase, in the 2011-2012 school year, is for Jumpertown grades 7-8 to be eliminated. The final structure would be Jumpertown, Hills Chapel and Marietta having grades K-6; Wheeler and Thrasher retaining grades K-12; and New Site changing from grades 9-12 to grades 7-12.
This latest plan, approved by a split vote of 3-2, replaces a restructuring plan adopted in September 2009. The plan approved in September resulted in two 7-12 grade high schools in the county and four K-6 elementary schools. The district currently has two K-8 schools; three K-12 schools and one 9-12 school.
Board president Rickie Davis, who voted against the new plan with board member Lisa Slack, said the $300,000 the plan is supposed to save would be spent to add classrooms at New Site when it adds grades 7-8.
Though only three individuals from the large attendance gave their objections to the decision, Booneville attorney Daniel Tucker said he has been engaged to represent them in the dispute.
Tucker was not, however, prepared to make any formal statement on their behalf, saying he needed to meet with the group to lay out some decisions they would need to make before moving forward.