JCS School Board reassessing plans for new middle school

Published 2:59 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2023

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The Jessamine County School Board met for a work session on the evening of Monday, May 8, to hear presentations on West Jessamine Middle School, the district’s maintenance team its adult education program.

The Board also heard an update from Superintendent Matt Moore on the construction of the new middle school.

New Jessamine County Middle School

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At the beginning of 2023, the school board approved a design for a new middle school and sent the plan out to receive bids from construction companies. One bid came back at the Board’s anticipated amount, about $90 million.

Moore suggested that with the price of the project and the district’s current enrollment status, the new middle school is not an urgent matter.

“We really feel like we need to step back and reassess the situation and see the best course of action,” Moore said.

He said this project would need to be completed eventually but advised that the Board should take their time with it.

The Board’s current plan is to reassess its options. Future adjustments to the project may be to bring the prices down, wait for bonding capacity or stepping back on other projects to move full steam ahead on the middle school.

West Jessamine Middle School

Several weeks ago, the Board heard presentations from principals all over Jessamine County and at Monday’s meeting, it listened to a presentation from Principal Matt Albertson of West Jessamine Middle School (WJMS).

The following are some of the highlights of his presentation:

• The school has a new cohort program twice a month where kids leave class to meet up with like-minded students to work on community-building projects.

The school had an “incredible production” of Mary Poppins. A few members of the Board audibly agreed.

• WJMS is a high-achieving school, according to the iReady data. The school has had a 189% improvement in reading and 108% improvement in math iReady scores. Reading scores are much higher than the school average in math scores.

• Albertson said the school’s biggest challenge is catching kids up on the skills that they lost during COVID. He said this year has been easier than last year, but the work of rebuilding skills is still ongoing.

Adult Education Program

Mary Newton, Jessamine County Schools’ Director of Adult Education, provided some end-of-year updates about the program.

Here are some of her presentation highlights:

• Jessamine’s adult education program is #1 in the state.

• It is #1 in the state in workplace training enrollment.

• GED completion is slightly lower this year than the last.

Maintenance Updates

John Clemons, Jessamine County Schools’ Director of Maintenance, presented updates to the school board.

Here are some of the highlights:

• The Maintenance Department has hired 16 new custodians.

• Andy McConnell, assistant principal at West Jessamine High School will be working with the maintenance and custodial staff to help decrease their workloads.

• Clemons and the maintenance team are working on custodial and maintenance standardization and standard operating procedures so that all schools have the same maintenance policies district-wide.

The department scrapped employee training programs just before COVID due to poor quality and is now working on recreating those training programs.

The Board’s next regular meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 30 at 871 Wilmore Rd.