"Basically from grades five and up, we're moving about half of the staff and half of the student body," superintendent Steve Borgsmiller said. "This is a major undertaking."
When voters approved a bond issue in 2005 to build a math and science center on the high school campus, reorganizing the district for the 2007-2008 school year was also included in the plans.
The Math and Science Center was completed in the spring so now school officials are working to make the transition happen before school begins in August.
"It's being done -- what we believe -- in the best interest of our educational program. We're taking the physical facilities and matching them with the age- appropriate children," Borgsmiller said about the reorganization.
By summer's end, the current junior high facility will become the Fifth and Sixth Grade Center; the current middle school facility will become the Seventh and Eighth Grade Center; and the site of the alternative facility will be relocated from Moore Street to the current fifth grade facility on Murray Lane. Borgsmiller said he isn't sure what will come of the Moore Street school building. The school board will have to address the issue in the future, he said.
Overall, the changes make great sense for the students and instruction staff and their educational environment, Borgsmiller said.
"We're moving the ninth graders back to the high school campus," Borgsmiller said. "We're taking advantage of the middle school building and its size and shape. It's a bigger building and will work better for the bigger (junior high) kids. The fifth graders will move into the junior high building, which is a smaller school."
Throughout the summer items will be removed from and moved to the appropriate facilities. Junior High must be emptied first so repainting, reflooring and retiling can be done, and teachers can move into classrooms, Borgsmiller said. Maintenance workers will also finish renovations at B building to get better use of space as the ninth graders are moved over.
In addition to building changes, staff changes are also taking place following some retirements and reassignments of district personnel, Borgsmiller said. The following positions were approved during the school board's special session May 29. Borgsmiller noted there could be more possible reassignments before school starts.
Cheryl Macke of Poplar Bluff was hired to fill the Seventh and Eighth Grade Center principal position following the retirement of Roy Frakes. Macke has taught science at Poplar Bluff for the past 12 years.
Sikeston native Angela Zorbas, who was previously hired by the district as a teacher, will take over the role of Matthews Elementary principal left vacant by Jeanne Anne Sullivan, who accepted a position as assistant principal at the Seventh and Eighth Grade Center. Zorbas has taught elementary grade levels at Kirksville for one year and Lake Forest, Ill., for four years.
Monica Ward was hired as the Lee Hunter Elementary principal as current principal Chuck Mayes is transferring to the principal position at the Fifth and Sixth Grade Center. Ward grew up in Steele but lives in Portageville. She has taught elementary grade levels at South Pemiscot for her entire teaching career, which is nine years.
New Madrid native Tony Maltbia was hired as Sikeston Career and Technology Center director, a position held by Laura Hendley who resigned in the spring. Most recently Maltbia has been the seventh through 12th grade principal at Cairo, Ill., School District No. 1.