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Horizon Elementary School

Students in Gayle Butts' third-grade class work at their desks in September 2018 at Horizon Elementary School in Jerome. 

JEROME — The Jerome School District is moving forward with buying 20 acres of land to use a possible elementary school site.

The school board approved the purchase in fall 2018. But trustees will decide Tuesday night whether to give final approval now that contingencies, such rezoning approval, have been met.

The parcel is south of Jerome High School off South Tiger Drive, and the purchase price is $360,000. The school district is slated to close on the purchase next week.

Jerome School District Superintendent Dale Layne said Monday he hopes to put together a group of community members for an initial meeting before summer starts to discuss options for a future school.

“We will be working with the patrons to get their thoughts and ideas of when and how fast to move forward,” Layne said.

Community members who are interested in getting involved can contact Layne for more information.

There’s no timeline yet for when a new school could be built, but it will likely be an elementary school. The Jerome School District currently has three elementary campuses: Jefferson (grades K-3), Horizon (K-3) and Summit (4-5).

Like many school districts in the Magic Valley, Jerome has seen rapid growth as the area’s population continues to expand and new businesses come in.

Currently, about 4,100 students are enrolled and the school district is expecting another 50 to 100 students next year. Over the last five years, the district has gained roughly 100 students annually.

The Jerome School District has been working since this fall on the land purchase.

The property near Jerome High School was originally zoned residential.

The district went through the process of getting approximately 14 acres rezoned. It plans to sell the remaining land to a developer in the future, Layne said.

It’s not the first time in recent years the Jerome School District has pursued ways to help keep up with enrollment growth. Jerome voters approved a nearly $24 million bond in 2014.

The bulk of the money was used at Jerome High School for a new wing, including more classroom space and a second gymnasium. Money was also used to add classrooms at other schools.

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