JACKSON – Security, schedules and more were discussed by Board of Education members and Superintendent Dr. Stephen Genco as they set goals for upcoming years.
The district’s goal of adding additional security to each of the system’s 10 schools included a special ballot question last fall which was approved by voters and resulted in the hiring of additional security personnel.
Moving forward, the district will continue to enhance security measures in the district and recruit additional bus drivers and mechanics.
Goal setting for the new school year also includes expanding its student engagement practices district-wide and its problem-based curriculum and staff training that focuses on real-world applications for students grades 9-12.
Another goal is to implement a new middle school schedule and to review and recommend a new high school schedule.
The district is also seeking to expand in-class resources to fourth grade students and continue efforts to increase awareness of student mental health.
District staff will also implement student social emotional learning approaches for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
The Board’s plan to build a satellite transportation facility on property near the Jackson Liberty High School is another goal which has moved forward. It was noted during a July 17 Board of Education meeting that the construction is ahead of schedule and may be operational by March 2020.
Construction began February 2019 and the majority of permits were received as of May 2019.
The project will be funded through earmarked surplus funds and did not impact the district’s current school budget.
Beyond the completion of its satellite transportation facility, the district’s facilities goals included the completion of an irrigation project at the Jackson Liberty HS athletic fields and to continue to prioritize and plan new projects.
Other goals include pursuing alternate revenue sources, continuing multi-year implementation of document archival system and researching the feasibility of reducing courtesy busing routes for the 2020-2021 school year.
During the meeting, officials took the time to check the status of previous goals, such as finance issues. The district had identified and implemented revenue-generating endeavors and also addressed transportation personnel shortages.
In the area of the district’s curriculum, the areas 6-12 grade math, kindergarten through 12th grade technology, 9-12 grade business and 6-12 grade family, consumer science and 6-12 grade social studies were reviewed.
District officials also reviewed the student schedules for high school and middle school students, student mental health programs and communication efforts particularly those aimed at making the district more transparent for parents and the public.
This current school year the district has been facing a budget shortfall based on a new state aid funding formula.
Genco said earlier this year that the state aid cuts have not only affected the current school year but will impact several years to come if left unchanged. Genco said during the spring that “this is an unjust and inequitable school funding law known as S2.”
According to the district’s website, “Under this funding law, the Jackson School District stands to lose a total of $17.3 million in aid over the next seven years which broken down is:
- 2019-2020: $1.35 million
- 2020-2021: $1.7 million
- 2021-2022: $2.4 million
- 2022-2023: $3.1 million
- 2023-2024: $3.6 million
- 2024-2025: $4.1 million
The 2019-2020 goals included a focus on improving student attendance which was stated in a PowerPoint presentation as “essential to motivate students to learn.”
Other areas covered in the goal setting presentation included focus on current and relevant technology which an integral part of enhancing instruction.
The district also seeks to offer diverse instructional opportunities in core subjects and in the fine and performing arts in an effort to provide a well-rounded education.
Athletics and extra-curricular activities will also remain a focus of the district to create a valuable to a culture of leadership, sportsmanship and initiative. The presentation also noted a “collaboration among highly qualified educational staff, students, families and the community will maximize the potential of all students.”