As population shifts, JCPS considers adapting schools - WDRB 41 Louisville News

As population shifts, JCPS considers closing and building new schools

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The question is one facing the state's largest school district: Are there enough seats in the classrooms to accommodate every student?

The answer: There are right now, but that might not be the case in three years.

During a lengthy work session Monday, Jefferson County Public School officials gave the school board a presentation about how dramatic population shifts - especially toward the eastern and southeastern portions of the county - could leave the school district with overcrowded schools and a deficit of too many students and not enough space.

Some of the solutions offered by Dr. Mike Raisor, the district's chief operating officer, included closing some schools with diminishing student populations, re-purposing other facilities, or building new schools.

"You know there really are a lot of possibilities," Raisor said. "It could mean closing a school, it could mean opening a new school. It might mean re-purposing the current buildings we have. We do have the seats in this district at this time. If current trends continue, there may be a point where we don't."

At meeting Monday night, Raisor and other district officials announced it is working on a comprehensive examination of its buildings.

Another consideration is building a new school in the Norton Commons area on land donated to the district.

"I've looked at the information for now seven years and all indications are it's growing, it's going to continue to grow," said board member Debbie Wesslund.

Debbie Wesslund's district covers the Norton Commons area. She's in favor of the proposal.

"One good thing is about the Norton Commons is that accessible from other parts of the county," she said.

Board Chair Diane Porter pointed out that other land options could arise in other parts of the county, saying: "land is available in other parts of the city, that could be deeded over to use, or sold to us for a $1," Porter said referring to conversations she had with Metro Council members.

District officials plan to make a formal presentation to the board in March. That will be followed by a collection of data and public input. The board is scheduled to make a vote on the matter in June.

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