Grade levels picked for new Jemison school

Published 9:29 pm Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fourth, fifth and sixth graders will be housed in the new Jemison Intermediate School, the Chilton County Board of Education decided Tuesday.

The board made the move on the recommendation of Superintendent Keith Moore. Grade levels for the other three Jemison schools will be as follows: Kindergarten through third grade, Jemison Elementary; seventh grade through freshmen year, Jemison Middle; and sophomore through senior year, Jemison High School.

The board discussed but didn’t make any decision on when the school might open.

“We need to be 100 percent sure that we are doing it the right way before we move them in,” said Moore. “Things work a lot better on paper than in reality. I just want us to be sure.”

Builders have told the school system that they will be finished by Oct. 1, Moore said.

It’s not clear if the construction crew will hit that date or not.

“When is it going to be finished? I don’t know,” Moore told the board. “We were told Oct. 1, but that’s out of our hands.”

When builders do finish, there are a lot of details that have to be worked out.

Moore said, in many ways, it would be easier opening a new school than moving kids from one school to another.

For example, the new library will have no books without taking them from the elementary or middle schools.

Likewise, the school will also have an impact on the system’s upcoming budget. The school will need a principal, other administrators, a librarian, cafeteria workers and other staff.

Moore remained confident all the issues could be resolved but said it would take time.

Moore said the new school will have an immense positive impact for Jemison but was hesitant to recommend an opening date until more questions had been answered.

“It’s going to alleviate the overcrowding problems,” said Moore. “There’s no doubt in my mind, I’m for four schools in Jemison.”

The board discussed several options, including moving students in January or moving some grades in January and others next August, but made no decision Tuesday. The issue is expected to come up at future work sessions and board meetings.