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MCS Growth Plan looks to future

This chart estimates the 10-year growth projection for kindergarten through twelfth grades in Madison City Schools from the 2016-2017 school year through 2026-2027 school year. CONTRIBUTED
This chart estimates the 10-year growth projection for kindergarten through twelfth grades in Madison City Schools from the 2016-2017 school year through 2026-2027 school year. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – The saying goes that ‘growth is a good problem to have.’ To accommodate growth, administrators in Madison are considering the district’s needs with the release of the “Madison City Schools Growth Committee Report.”

The Growth Committee, led by Student Services Director Dennis James, produced the 28-page report that “outlines challenges and recommendations for dealing with major enrollment gains in Madison schools.” To view the report, visit madisoncity.k12.al.us; in the “District News” section, click “Madison City Schools Growth Committee Report to Jan. 12 BOE Meeting.”

The report’s purpose is to “examine the growth and demographics of the district and develop a vision and plan to effectively manage growth.” Sections of the report investigate and report on growth projections, capacity building needs, funding, increasing revenue, alternatives and recommendations.

The report compares capacity to enrollment for each of Madison’s seven elementary schools. The comparison uses the number of students currently enrolled and available space, which determined the percentage of capacity. The statistics do not include pre-kindergarten or developmentally delayed students but does include four portables at Mill Creek.

With the lowest population percentages, Rainbow has capacity of 840 students and enrollment of 675 to give space for 165 more students and capacity at 80.4 percent. In contrast, Horizon was built to accommodate 620 students but has enrollment of 667. This scenario gives Horizon ‘negative space’ of 47 students with its capacity at 107.6 percent.

For secondary grades’ capacity versus enrollment, Discovery Middle School is 68 percent of capacity; Liberty Middle School, 87.2 percent; Bob Jones High School, 88.6 percent; and James Clemens High School, 89.2 percent. These figures do not include developmentally delayed students.

In an ideal environment with adequate funding, MCS would begin construction of a new elementary school as soon as possible for opening in 2019-2020 school year. Construction of a new high school would start in 2025 for opening in 2028-2029 school year. To construct both a new middle school and elementary school, construction would begin in 2026 and open in 2028-2029.

The committee suggests several options if the district cannot fund new construction:

* System-wide rezoning.

* Place more students in each class.

* Move sixth-graders to middle schools.

* Place modular classrooms at elementary schools and build additions at existing schools.

* Establish sixth-grade academy.

* Review both magnet programs and gifted programs.

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