Springfield School District looks at options: close, combine, expand schools

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KSPR) - Springfield School District leaders are working on a $300 million plan that might help students but hit taxpayers' wallets pretty hard.

One option for a plan is to close the almost-100-year-old Jarrett Middle School along with several others like it, and move students into bigger school buildings. Exactly how school leaders would bigger schools is still up in the air.

So far, school leaders have narrowed it down to two different options.
The first option would be to add on and expand newer schools already in the district to increase student capacity.

The second option would combine campuses by putting elementary and middle schoolers in separate spaces, but all in one building.

The school district is considering those options for about 20 middle and elementary schools. All of the high schools would be renovated or maintained with both options.

The big issue is cost.

"The cost for an individual home owner with $100,000 in (assessed value of) property would be approximately $38 - $57 per year," said Carol Embree, the district's chief financial officer.

School leaders say the increase would happen over 10 years. The school district wants its patrons to help them choose the plan before finalizing anything.

The Springfield School District will hold 10 meetings for public input before the board finalizes the plan.

Here's the schedule of community input meetings:
-- Monday, Oct. 17, 6:30 p.m., Sunshine Elementary School
-- Tuesday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m., Kraft Administrative Center
-- Thursday, Oct. 20, 6:30 p.m., Cherokee Middle School
-- Monday, Oct. 24, 6:30 p.m., Hillcrest High School
-- Tuesday, Oct. 25, 6:30 p.m., Jarrett Middle School
-- Thursday, Oct. 27, 6:30 p.m., Pipkin Middle School
-- Wednesday, Nov. 2, 9:15 a.m., Wilson's Creek Intermediate School, SCPTA Council Meeting
-- Thursday, Nov. 3, 6:30 p.m., Pershing K-8 School
-- Monday, Nov. 7, 6:30 p.m., Reed Academy
-- Thursday, Nov. 10, 4 p.m., Parkview High School