Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees approved an amended school-optimization plan that will close or consolidate 13 schools. The board voted 5-1 to accept JPS Superintendent Errick Greene’s proposal during its Dec. 19 meeting. Greene introduced the amended plan to the board at a Dec. 5 school board meeting.
The plan differs from the initial proposal the superintendent made to the board in October that called for 16 schools to be closed. The district removed Clausell Elementary School, Green Elementary School, Oak Forest Elementary and Key Elementary School from the final closure list and added Marshall Elementary. Obama Magnet IB and Wells Academic and Performing Arts are still scheduled to be consolidated with their middle school feeder schools; however, the board-approved plan will delay that move until 2025 while renovations are completed at the Bailey APAC campus.
The vote follows months of deliberations and community meetings. Several citizens spoke during the public comments section of the meeting, most urging the board to reconsider closing schools, specifically Wingfield High School. Wingfield is the only high school slated to close.
“Something has to be done, and we know that, but this right here, I don’t feel is the right decision,” Wingfield head football coach Andrew Watson said addressing the board. “This decision affects more than just the community. It affects the students. It affects voters. It affects careers. And it’s going to change lives.”
Wingfield head football coach Andrew Watson spoke during the public comments section of the December 19, 2023 JPS school board meeting. He asked board members to not close the school. Screenshot courtesy JPS livestream
Greene said during the meeting that community feedback had been an important part of the process, and he addressed several concerns such as school safety, loss of belonging and the fate of staff. He told the board that the district intends to invest the saved revenue not only into needed facility repairs and renovations but also into stable staffing, expanded academic offerings, expanded arts programs, athletic salary raises and facilities upgrades.
“I implore you board members to vote yes on this optimization plan and
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