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Residents can speak at community meetings on city, school growth

MADISON – Two community meetings will give residents a voice about the effect of Madison’s expanding population on the quality of education in Madison City Schools.

Mayor Paul Finley and Superintendent Robby Parker will host two community meetings to listen to public feedback. The meetings are scheduled for April 10 at 6:30 p.m. at Bob Jones High School and on April 22 at 3 p.m. at James Clemens High School.

“Public input is important as the city and school system leaders move forward with plans to meet Madison’s growth challenges and its impact on maintaining quality schools,” Parker said. “We’ve scheduled the meetings at different times and days of the week to broaden the opportunity to attend one of them.”

Finley agreed that community input is vital.

“We have a wonderful problem here, and that is people continue to move here for our quality of living and our excellent school system. But now we need to look ahead and establish a forward-reaching plan,” Finley said.

In March, Madison Schools Growth Impact Committee presented their research to Madison City Council, Madison Board of Education, Finley and Parker. This research revealed, with the current growth trajectory, new middle and elementary schools are needed. In addition, the district must expand Bob Jones and James Clemens high schools or build a third high school.

The growth committee reported three possible cases for growth and the resulting influence for Madison. Case 1 would halt growth with slight overcrowding. Case 2 would control growth, but MCS could face significant overcrowding without additional facilities and space. Case 3 would allow for unrestricted growth and the potential for massive school overcrowding.

“We know what our numbers are going to be in the next 10-15 years. We are not guessing,” Parker said. “This is about the generation now, but it’s also about the next generation.”

The study also cites new jobs in our area driving population growth in Madison. City officials agree that superior caliber of education in MCS is a top priority, even with the school district attracting more families to move to Madison.

To access the report, visit madisoncity.k12.al.us, click “Joint Growth Study Final Report on School Needs/Funding Options/Population Projections” and click “Final Report.”

To access MCS’ 10-Year Vision Plan, visit madisoncity.k12.al.us and click “Superintendent Robby Parker’s Proposed 10-Year Vision for Madison City Schools.”

Finley and Parker recorded a video summary of the meetings. Visit https://youtu.be/pgHEx8LTZTI.

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