The Jacksonville North Pulaski School District is getting ready to open its doors to students for the first time.
In September 2014 nearly 95 percent of voters in the Jacksonville area supported creating their own district by detaching from the larger Pulaski County Special School District. It has taken nearly two years to staff the district and make preparations, such as planning bus routes and student schedules.
Superintendent Tony Wood says the district has hired over 450 people and staffing is complete except for a few additional support positions. The entire staff gathered for a convocation Monday in anticipation of receiving students next week.
“The climate, from my perspective is just very, very positive,” Wood says. “I had just a number of positive comments made in regards to us coming together this morning. It’s kind of a kickoff and it’s just overwhelming the degree of community support.”
One of the issues the new, smaller district is hoping to address is declining student enrollment.
“It’s essential that we stop having the loss of students in this geographic area. If you look at the prior 10 years of what now comprises the new Jacksonville North Pulaski School District and the schools that are contained therein, over the last 10 years there’s been approximately a loss of 2,000 students,” Wood says.
Student enrollment determines the funding each district receives from the state. The new district is receiving funding for 3,909 students. Wood says he hopes to have a clearer picture of the actual enrollment by late September.