School committee completes proposal to reduce crowding

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 2, 2000

Members of a committee looking at a plan to reduce school size have finalized a plan to submit to the Natchez-Adams School Board – but they aren’t disclosing their suggestions to the public yet.

&uot;The committee (members) were unanimous in their decision, and they were satisfied with what they submitted,&uot; said Kenneth&160;Taylor, committee chairman and school board president.

Taylor said he would not release details of the plan because the school board has yet to review it. The plan will be presented to them this month.

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The development of the plan has been controversial because the Natchez-Adams School District has operated since 1989 under a federal court order designed to force integration.

That court order was the result of a lawsuit from three Natchez couples whose children attended the public schools at the time. A judge ordered North and South Natchez high schools to be consolidated and several other schools closed. The court order still requires any changes to the configuration of the district’s schools to receive a federal judge’s approval.

Because the board has not seen the plan, &uot;I don’t want to make a statement right now,&uot; Taylor said.

The Natchez-Adams County School district formed the committee in February with members of the community and the school district.

At the time, the school district had been considering a plan to reopen Braden School – the current administration building – as a kindergarten to sixth-grade school.

The plan also included converting the district’s two primary schools and two upper elementary schools into kindergarten to sixth-grade schools.

After holding a public forum on the plan in February, district officials formed the committee – the Education Facility Plan for K-6 Advisory Committee – to gather community input on overcrowding.

The committee’s job was to evaluate the district’s plan and then draw up its own plan on how to reduce school size. In formulating their plan, committee members spoke with a number of experts, including educational consultants and architects.

&uot;(The committee) worked very well together,&uot; Taylor said. &uot;There weren’t any disputes or discord.&uot;

In addition to studying data on school size, Taylor said he also gave the committee a survey of other school districts on school construction and cost.

Members of the Natchez-Adams School Board are holding a retreat today to discuss the future missions and objectives of the school district.

The board’s next regular meeting is at 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14.