School board to place portables at Mill Creek

Dr. Dee Fowler, Superintendent of Madison City Schools, speaks during a community meeting on overcrowding at Mill Creek Elementary School. RECORD PHOTOS/GREGG L. PARKER
A parent speaks during a community meeting on overcrowding at Mill Creek Elementary School. RECORD PHOTOS/GREGG L. PARKER

MADISON – Mill Creek Elementary School will have portable classrooms or ‘portables’ to solve overcrowding.

Madison Board of Education approved portables at the request of Dr. Dee O. Fowler, Superintendent of Education of Madison City Schools, at a special meeting of the board on May 25.

That board meeting followed up a community forum about the district’s overcrowding held at Mill Creek on May 24. At that meeting, Mill Creek’s cafeteria held a full house of parents who listened to and offered opinions about overcrowding.

“We predict that the elementary school population in Madison City will push our schools to 95-percent capacity,” Fowler said in email on May 24. “This will be most visible at Mill Creek, where we will run out of classroom space. This is a dilemma that the board has wrestled for quite some time.”

“Your board of education, principals and district staff members have held open public meetings to discuss the best way to handle next year’s overflow population,” Fowler said. “I recommended, and the board accepted a plan to purchase and install portable classrooms at Mill Creek.”

Fowler said that using portables “is not without challenges, but we feel this is our most appropriate course of action for next year.”

The board will form a committee to study more long-term options for dealing with the district’s growth. “Since so much of the recent discussion involved special education, many parents have asked us to take a long look at how special education is delivered in our district for the students that start at Mill Creek, move to Columbia and then to Rainbow,” Fowler said.

“Is it best for kids to change school frequently, or would they be better served staying in designated schools of attendance from first to sixth grade?” Fowler said.

The board accepted the idea for portables after considering several other options:

* 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.

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