JMCS Superintendent Verna Ruffin talks about the future of the district

JACKSON, Tenn– One superintendent with no plans of slowing down.

“I like to finish what I started,” Jackson-Madison County Superintendent Verna Ruffin said.

Wednesday, Ruffin sat down with WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News to discuss Tuesday night’s long and passionate school board meeting which included the future for a K-8 school.

“The community really wanted to see combinations of K-8 schools, but not all schools throughout the district,” Ruffin said.

With the implementation of “Vision 2020”, parents were promised Pope Elementary would expand to grade 8, but not anymore.

“There was one that was approved for Pope when we knew that Pope did not have any additional land to add lots of buildings and we didn’t want to add additional portables,” Ruffin explained.

Tuesday, the school board accepted Dr. Ruffin’s recommendation to keep Pope a K-6 and send those rising 7th graders to Northeast Middle School.

The future of Whitehall Pre-K Learning Center also a big issue.

“Is it a good learning environment for the children and for the teachers that will be teaching there?,” Ruffin said.

Dr. Ruffin said she will talk with parents and staff before making a recommendation to keep Whitehall at Nova or move it back to its original building.

“I’m very passionate about what I do and I have no intentions of stopping to affect change and I look forward to continuing in that career path,” Ruffin said with a smile.

Dr. Ruffin also talked about teacher retention rate. She said although she is deeply concerned about it, it is also an issue that is affecting school systems across the country.

A consultant firm examined the schools in the district and are recommending more than $140 million in repairs and reconstruction costs.

Dr. Ruffin said she would like to balance the budget before leaving.

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