/Water woes force JPS to extend school day

Water woes force JPS to extend school day

Due to winter weather and water pressure problems in the city, seven Jackson Public School District school days were missed this year. Students will be spending more time in the classroom to make up for this. Tuesday night, the Board of Trustees approved a reorganization plan. All schools will extend their school days by an hour, starting February 12th and ending April 12th. High schools will close at 4:30, middle schools at 3:50 and elementary schools at 3:15. Although students were supposed to return from winter break Monday, January 8, many buildings in the district were left without water pressure due to more than 100 water main breakages. Students were not allowed to go to school for the week of January 15th due to a winter storm that swept through the area. District already had April 30 and March 2 as make-up days in case of inclement weather. This meant that the district had to add five more school days. As another make-up day for inclement weather, the district will use a parent teacher conference scheduled for February 19 and reschedule it. To “bank” two more make-up days and learning time, the board approved to extend the plan by adding days. The board unanimously narrowed down the candidates for superintendent search firms to Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, based in Schaumberg, Ill., and McPherson and Jacobson LLC, based in Omaha, Neb. Dorian Turner, the school board’s attorney, will coordinate with them to arrange a time for both search firms to be interviewed. The current interim superintendent Freddrick Murray took over the position in November 2016, when Cedrick Gray, the former superintendent, resigned. Murray has led the district throughout a turbulent period. Stakeholders and officials struggled for months under the threat of a state takeover. Both the State Board of Education (State Board of Education) and the Commission on School Accreditation (Commission on School Accreditation) requested that the governor declare a State of Emergency to take control of the district. They announced that Murray would be replaced with Margie Pulley who is conservator of Tunica County Schools. This did not occur. Instead, Gov. Phil Bryant, Governor of Mississippi, announced the Better Together Commission. This is a partnership between his Office, the City of Jackson and the W.K. The Kellogg Foundation will avoid state takeover. The commission will assist with the search for a superintendent and supervise an evaluation of the district. For the 2018-19 school year, the board will have a permanent superintendent.