JPS District Board votes to close Barr Elementary and merge several other schools

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Jackson Public Schools Board votes tonight to approve a three year plan that will shuffle nearly a dozen JPS schools.

Several schools will combine, one will close and there will be an expansion of Pre-K.

The votes unanimous, there are big changes coming to Jackson Public Schools and the communities surrounding each campus. There’s a lot of that students and parents need to be up to date with.

In the first part of the “optimizing for equity” plan Jackson Public Schools will close down Barr Elementary due to low enrollment and the building in desperate need of repairs. Those students will be transferred to Pecan Park.

“We were compelled by the data and the enrollment and the cost of running the district,” Superintendent Dr. Errick Greene told us. “We know that we’ve now got to prove to the community that things can and must be better.”

Barr Elementary’s principal, a JPS administrator of the year, will lose her school, but the superintendent is working to keep her and her talented staff on board.

“Through attrition and vacancies that we already have we’ll be able to land all of those staff members in a position,” Dr. Errick Greene said. “Every year we have quite a number of vacancy’s and so we’re confident those folks will be able to land.”

Lately Jackson’s Kindergarten enrollment has nearly doubled previous year numbers pushing JPS to transform Van Winkle Elementary to a full Pre-K campus.

“We’ve got a number of young people showing up in Kindergarten and we’re not so sure what their experience is the year prior,” Dr. Greene continued. “We’re excited to start that earlier at Van Winkle, those young people will typically out pace other young people who haven’t had high quality early childhood experience.”

Other big moves in the three year plan include merging Hardy Middle with Blackburn and students at Siwell will go to Cardozo or Peeples Middle. This will allow the district to afford more upper level courses.

“When you’re able to concentrate more of our young people in a building and disperse the cost within the building,” Dr. Greene stated. “That allows you then to afford your Spanish teachers, your health teacher, and your art teacher.”

Superintendent Dr. Errick Greene says by the end of the Summer there will be meet and greet events at the new schools where students are being merged to and meet their new teachers and classmates. For more information on that visit and the entire optimizing for equity plan click here.

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