COLUMBIA — Parents can comment on proposed middle school attendance area boundary changes this week. The forums will take place 5 p.m. Wednesday at Jefferson Middle School, 713 Rogers St., and 5 p.m. Thursday at Gentry Middle School, 4200 Bethel St. Both schools are the ones mainly affected by the changes.

Columbia Public Schools' attendance area committee has been discussing school boundaries redraws since October and will give the board an official recommendation in February so students can register for classes next year.

According to previous Missourian reporting, the area change is a proposed solution to issues of overcrowding. Gentry had 868 enrolled students this school year, while 597 students were enrolled at Jefferson.

About 255 parents have responded to the most recent boundary proposal, posted Jan. 12 on the district's website. Currently, parents are most concerned about how drive time and the driving distance will affect their families when boundaries are changed, district spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said.

Parents can view the proposed boundaries and submit feedback on the Community Online Feedback page until Feb. 2.

The boundary changes would be in place until construction of a new middle school in south Columbia. The Columbia School Board voted Thursday to accelerate construction of the school from an original opening date of 2022. An opening date will be determined by the district's finance committee next month.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

  • I am a senior studying magazine journalism. Feel free to reach me at (573) 246-0406, or email loretta.lee@mail.missouri.edu.

  • I'm covering K-12 education for the spring 2017 term. I've previously covered public safety and health and the MO legislature. For questions and comments, reach me at crystalduan@mail.missouri.edu, or 503-860-6207.

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