Wingfield Jackson 652079460cdb7

Jackson (Mississippi) district may close or consolidate 16 schools

Oct. 6, 2023
The school system says it is struggling with declining enrollment and staffing.

The Jackson (Mississippi) district says as many as 16 schools could be closed or consolidated in 2024.

The Jackson Clarion Ledger reports that of the 55 schools in the district, 16 are recommended for closure, including 13 elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school. The 16:

  • Obama Elementary School
  • Green Elementary School 
  • Oak Forest Elementary School
  • Sykes Elementary School 
  • Shirley Elementary School 
  • Clausell Elementary School 
  • Key Elementary School
  • Dawson Elementary School
  • G.N. Smith Elementary School 
  • Wells APAC Elementary School 
  • Lake Elementary School 
  • Raines Elementary School 
  • Lester Elementary School 
  • Chastain Middle School 
  • Whitten Middle School 
  • Wingfield High School

Errick Greene, Jackson superintendent, presented the potential closings as part of the district's optimization plan. The main reasons for the closures or consolidations were declining enrollment, expensive investments in the school's facilities and difficulties with staffing.

"The issue of stabilizing our staffing is very real to us," Greene says. "We're competing across the board with other districts, let alone other fields of work and industries. Anytime you have teachers or school leaders going to retail or some of the other industries because they can get better pay or more competitive pay, you've got some issues there."

Because of a decline in student enrollment, the Jackson district has become overstaffed with teachers. Last year, Jackson had 18,773 students and a staff of 2,939. In comparison, Birmingham City Schools had an enrollment number 21,328 and a teacher staff of 1,886.

In 2015-16, Jackson's enrollment was 27,267 students. That has declined by almost 10,000 students; last year's enrollment was 18,773. This year, enrollment has dropped below 18,000.

The 16 schools on the closing list were selected based on data analyzed by the school administration. Specifically, the data showed consistent patterns of declining enrollment, as well as HVAC failures in the facilities.

A final vote on the optimization plan is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 5. 

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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