Multimedia Journalist

No move for Russellville Middle School

The Board of Education for the Cole County R-1 School District in Russellville has decided a previous plan to merge the middle and high schools is no longer necessary.

What is needed instead is an assistant principal at the middle school building, the board decided during its Jan. 17 meeting.

“Our student enrollment has been declining steadily over the past seven to 10 years, and because of it you always evaluate your programs and classrooms,” Superintendent Perry Gorrell said.

When the district lost its high school principal last year, he added, conversations about the ratio of students to administrators had the district and school board considering the merge.

Now, enrollment is increasing. The district currently has 617 students from pre-K through 12th grade.

“We have over 50 new students this year, and because of that, that need is no longer there,” Gorrell said.

The board approved hiring an assistant principal to start in March for the 2019-20 school year, he said.

The district also is looking into sending high school students to the Eldon Career Center with the increase in business in the area. Quaker Windows and Doors currently is building a $65 million facility expected to open in the fall.

Currently Russellville students can participate in programs at Jefferson City Public Schools’ Nichols Career Center such as health occupation, automotive, culinary and more.

The Eldon Career Center, part of the Eldon R-1 School District, currently serves Eugene, Stover, Versailles, Tuscumbia and St. Elizabeth students, offering secondary programs in business/marketing, automotive technology and agriculture, among others.

“Eldon is just as close to us as the Nichols Career Center, and we just want to make sure that we’re meeting the needs of our students through our career centers,” Gorrell said.

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