Jefferson City Group Pushes to Reduce School Overcrowding

Mar 10, 2017

Credit KOMUnews / Flickr

A Jefferson City group is hoping to alleviate overcrowding in the city’s public schools. Citizens Investing in J Plus C is trying to convince citizens to vote yes on propositions ‘J’ and ‘C’ that would provide funding to renovate the Jefferson City High School and Nichols Career Center and the construction of a new high school. The two propositions would increase tax levies from $3.60 to $4.70 and produce $130 million; $85 million of which would go to building a new high school and $45 million would go to renovating the current facilities.

   “There will be virtually no piece, no part of that campus that will go untouched,” Amy Berendzen, the Director of School and Community Relations said. “This $45 million is a complete and total renovation of that building.”

          Stephanie Johnson, co-chair of the community outreach committee for Citizens Investing in J Plus C, said Jefferson City High School is overcrowded. Students have to cross the road between classes to get to classrooms at the Nichols Career Center because there aren’t enough classrooms.

   “We are really overcrowded, and as overcrowded as we are now, it’s nothing compared to what’s coming,” Johnson said.  “We have multiple classes in the K-8 grade level that have over 700 children per class, and that’s gonna push over the tipping scale.”

   Johnson said that while all of the schools are overcrowded, the high school is in the most need of upgrade. 

   “These are tough decisions that our community has to make, and I get it that nobody wants to pay more taxes, but I think that we have to look at what are we as a community willing to invest in for the education of our community and the future growth of Jefferson City,” Johnson said.

Proposition ‘J’ has to pass by a four-sevenths majority and proposition ‘C’ needs a simple majority to pass. Both need to pass the April 4th ballot for the plan to be implemented.