Prentiss school structure unchanged for 2009-10

BOONEVILLE – Before a standing-room-only crowd, the Prentiss County School Board voted on Tuesday to make no changes in school structure for the 2009-2010 school year.
Though many parents who strongly opposed any changes breathed a sigh of relief, it was short-lived. The board then decided in a 3-2 split vote to restructure district schools beginning with the 2010-2011 school year.
The plan the board adopted was called “phase 2” of proposals recommended by consultant Kermit Keenum. It will merge schools and leave the district with two high schools, two middle schools and two elementary schools countywide.
The phase 1 proposal recommended for adoption for the 2009-2010 school year would have restructured Hills Chapel and Marietta schools – both K-8 now – and Hills Chapel would have become a K-4 school and Marietta a 5-8 school.
In that same proposal the county’s three K-12 schools would have had curriculum changes, with some teachers splitting teaching duties between two schools.
At the opening of the meeting, board President Rickie Davis told the group that only those who had requested in advance to speak at the meeting would be allowed to do so.
Kathy Morrison was the only one present of two individuals who had made a request to speak.
“Consideration of what is best for the children has been pushed aside,” she said. “I think this is a business decision” that would put children in overcrowded classrooms and eliminate the hands-on learning they have access to now.
Board member Steve Taylor, who spoke in favor of postponing changes for a year and made the motion to do so, nevertheless said he thought changes were needed countywide.
Taylor, Lisa Slack and Perry Walden were the members who supported the restructuring, with Davis and Ronnie Kesler opposing.
Removed from consideration were proposals concerning academic teaching positions and transportation issues, which will be discussed in a work session.
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

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