School structure change?

Published 12:09am Thursday, March 29, 2012

NATCHEZ — When students dart for the pool on their last day of school this summer, the furniture, teachers and administrators they leave behind might be following them out the door.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Natchez-Adams School Board, all five school board members and the interim superintendent confirmed they want schools to be reorganized as early as this summer.

Restructuring grade levels at each school seemed an eminent possibility, as everyone with a voice at the boardroom table agreed that the public schools should have three “neighborhood schools,” serving kindergarten through fifth grade, a single middle school for sixth through eighth graders and a single high school.

Though the board didn’t take action Wednesday, their position was clear going into a Tuesday meeting with Gary Bailey, an educational and architectural consultant the district hired to conduct a study of the district’s organization and facilities.

Momentum of the board’s conversation quickly switched from the question of whether to reorganize, to details about what facilities would house the newly structured schools.

After talk about the cost of moving furniture from one school to another came up, board member David Troutman checked in with Interim Superintendent Joyce Johnson to see if there were any reasons to pump the breaks on the reorganization conversation.

Troutman acknowledged Johnson’s early support of neighborhood schools before asking her if any other unforeseen issues may have popped up since then that should prompt the board to delay making moves to reorganize.

“Maybe (is there an issue that would) put it off a year?” Troutman asked.

“No,” Johnson answered simply.

Johnson also confirmed to Troutman that the reorganization would result in shorter bus rides for the K-12 children when he asked if reorganization would affect transportation negatively.

In addition, Board President Wayne Barnett told the board about Johnson’s idea to make a school that just serves ninth graders at its own facility. Johnson called the concept a ninth-grade academy.

Board members tossed in suggestions about where the revamped schools could go.

Board member Thelma Newsome said she was leaning toward the idea of hosting the K-5 schools at the campuses of Frazier Primary School, West Primary School and McLaurin Elementary School. In Newsome’s scenario, Morgantown would serve sixth through eighth grades and the high school would stay like it is, serving ninth through 12th grades.

Barnett said another idea, which could incorporate a ninth-grade academy, would be to partition off parts of Robert Lewis Middle School in bad shape and use the remainder of the facility for a ninth-grade school.

Board member Tim Blalock said the district could also consider other properties besides the ones where current schools are.

  • Anonymous

    Pump BRAKES, not breaks.  And please ask the ‘parents’ to restructure their RESPONSIBILITIES as well.

  • Anonymous

    This will be a debacle if implemented for next school year.  First, there is not a detailed plan, just a “vision”.  Second, trying to get buy in from the entire staff to make it happen will be a major obstacle.  Moving libraries, furniture, parent centers, getting technology such as computers and the promethean boards in the right classrooms will take lots of planning, expense, and time. Third, planning bus routes and implementing them for the new routes will be a huge undertaking – boundaries will need to be established for attendance and routes planned along those lines. Fourth, a

  • Anonymous

    No matter which carton you put rotten eggs in….they’re still rotten eggs. Playing musical chairs with our school system on a whim…well…its just another example of the insanity within the administration. There can be no “fix” for the public school system until a “fix” can be found for the REAL reason for the decline.

  • Anonymous

    i’ve just about had my fill of all this public school DRAMA.   the title of the soap-box would be “as the schools turn” or “better days in our children’s lives” or “the secret stormy meetings ”etc etc.  spike lee or some other movie producer could reap millions at the box office imitating these educated, mandated, unionized, authorized, character assasinating, nation-wide visionless creatures of habit.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, Nashville must really have some bad educators!

  • Anonymous

    You’re so right oldsouthgent. When I keep begging for neighborhood schooling I mean it’s to be from the first day of school (kindergarten) thru graduation of the 12th graders. That’s the only way it’ll work best for the children. When I was little and going to school I looked up to the older kids with respect and as role models . Especially when they graduated with their caps and gowns, it made me want to study and learn as much as I could so I could one day be as ‘smart ‘ as they, who in my eyes were big people. The older kids were always role models for me and most kids my age..    

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    My opinion is that all Sports be shut down till the state says the grade point average is where it needs to be to get higher test scores!!! Student will be able to concentrate on making better grades to get the sport program back!!! Job evaluations need to be conducted from the Supt. down!!!

  • Anonymous

    to let the charter school for profit politicians, the privatizing director of schools, the grease my palms school board members, the here one day gone the next unions all TELL IT, it’s not the educators, it’s the siphoning off of funds to fill the coffers of the anti-educators who don’t know jack-st about educating.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s not forget that in order to play sports, the participants must retain a threshhold GPA.  If not, they go on waivers.  Thus, the problem is not with the sports participants, but the general population, on average.  Sports is also a motivator to keep some students either in school or striving to achieve the necessary GPA so they can play.

    I fully agree with job evaluations to position each employee in the proper relationship with salary RANGES, not a specified one size fits all bracket based solely on degree level and years experience as in current use.  School board needs to take note of this as it seems they are thinking in one manner by not wanting to pay a secretary for a masters degree which has no relationship to that job category.

  • Anonymous

    Why would someone with a masters degree in something entirely different, be working as a secretary?

  • Anonymous

    I————aw forget it. You can try and try to talk common sense but that’s something that is NOT used in Natchez. 

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Adams county has got to have a elected school board ASAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!