SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Springfield Public Schools (SPS) board members discussed the transportation expansion, the student population, and the budget.
At the board meeting, the board members said SPS saw a large drop in student enrollment for the 2020 and 2021 school year. The drop in enrollment is affecting staffing for the upcoming school year.
The biggest drop was in elementary schools with enrollment down 1,200 students.
SPS said it needs to apply a reduction of 35 elementary teachers and 15 secondary teachers. There is no plan to fire teachers, but no teachers will be replaced if someone leaves or retires.
Also in the budget, the transportation expansion, which was approved in February.
The transportation expansion allows an additional 3,000 students to ride the bus to SPS. The district expects a 20 to 40% increase in ridership due to the expansion.
Official changes won’t be released until the end of the summer. At a February board meeting, several parents shared their concerns about earlier start times and later end times.
“What is the best interest of the student? right?” said Jasmine Allen, an SPS parent, “Are we student-centered? are we family-centered? are we teacher-centered?”
A new school is scheduled to be built, which will cost approximately $20 million.
Travis Shaw, the executive director of operations, said the project could last 14 months from demolition to completion, but delays of construction materials around the country could change the timeline.
“The good thing is, in the event, there’s a delay, we don’t have anything on its on the heels of this project that would cause an adverse effect down the road,” said Shaw.
The change in times has brought concern among the district’s parents.
Storm shelters were also discussed in the meeting. Both Field and Mark Twain Elementary are the next to build a storm shelter, which the public can use in the event of a tornado warning.