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Community meeting set for Mill Creek overcrowding

Parents and politicians listened and spoke during a joint meeting of Madison Board of Education and Madison City Council to discuss the impact of Limestone County taxes. CONTRIBUTED
Parents and politicians listened and spoke during a joint meeting of Madison Board of Education and Madison City Council to discuss the impact of Limestone County taxes. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Madison City Schools leaders and school board members are working diligently to resolve the tax dispute with Limestone County, but another issue is demanding immediate attention from citizens and educators.

Mill Creek Elementary School is overcrowded. To discuss Mill Creek’s overcrowding, Madison Board of Education will host a community meeting on May 24 at 6 p.m. at Mill Creek.

“Increased enrollment in the Mill Creek zone requires space for six new classrooms next year. Our current choices are to relocate students to another building or place portables,” Madison City Schools Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler said.

Complicating the scenario, “When students relocate to different buildings, there’s always the anxiety of changing schools. Portables have their drawbacks, too,” Fowler said. Students in portables are exposed to weather conditions to visit the restroom, cafeteria, P.E., library and other indoor activities.

“A great deal of instructional time is forfeited when there is threatening weather, and the students have to evacuate the portable to come into the safety of the building,” Fowler said. “Holding class in the gym, library or cafeteria is not ideal.”

The board has received several proposals to relieve overcrowding:

* Convert Mill Creek’s computer lab, music room and art room into classrooms. Add three portables.
* Transfer Mill Creek sixth-graders to Liberty Middle School for 2016-2017.
* Transfer West Madison Elementary School’s fifth- and sixth-graders to Rainbow. Move pre-kindergarten and developmentally-delayed classes to West Madison.
* Transfer one of Mill Creek’s upper grades to West Madison.
* Move Mill Creek’s six developmentally-delayed pre-kindergarten classes, along with first-graders, to Rainbow.
* Begin a complete rezoning.

“Why are we in this position?” Fowler said. “We continue to grow. As you know, this is not just a Mill Creek problem but a district-wide problem.”

“Currently, we do not have the money for our eighth elementary school,” Fowler said. “Growth is good. Sometimes, managing it is difficult.”

In other activity, Madison City Council of PTAs held a brown bag luncheon on May 20 to raise awareness on MCS’ 11 campuses about the tax issue and Mill Creek’s overcrowding.

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