Pope Elementary PTO petitions for new school building

JACKSON, Tenn. — Some parents are concerned their Jackson-Madison County School District won’t be getting a new school.

Members of the Pope Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization say they’re concerned, after several school board members voted to table a vote to buy land to build a new Pope K-8 school.

“We created the petition to create awareness for our pope family but also for the city as well, because this decision has implications beyond a new school building,” said Lizzy Belew, president of the Pope Elementary PTO.

But the chairman of the school board says that plot of land isn’t the right decision.

“If we’re gonna invest in new schools, we should put them in the right place. We can’t just think about now, we gotta think about the future,” said Kevin Alexander, chairman of the Jackson-Madison County School Board.

A field was proposed as the building site for the new school. Belew says it would then give them the necessary room they need, as that part of Jackson is continuing to grow, but Alexander says the next thing that needs to be built is a new high school.

Alexander says if more people keep moving into north Jackson, they’ll all be zoned for North Side High School.

“You add 300, and you’ve got a 1300-person high school. And it’s not something I want,” Alexander said.

Another argument the PTO brings up is how old the school is.

“Our Pope school building is over 70 years old, and we’ve greatly outgrown the size. We’re utilizing every square inch,” Belew said.

However, Alexander says several of the schools in Madison County are that old.

The PTO has reached their goal of 1,000 signatures on their petition.

“The number of signatures show that people who really have no connection with Pope are definitely in favor of this too, and they can see the benefit a new school building would bring to our city and community,” Belew said.

The next school board work session is March 11 at 5:30 p.m.

The session gives community members an opportunity to voice their concerns.

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