Ad Spot

School board accepts budget, zoning map

Madison Board of Education has approved the 2017 budget. In this photo, Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler talks to new employees before the start of the 2016-2017 school year. CONTRIBUTED
Madison Board of Education has approved the 2017 budget. In this photo, Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler talks to new employees before the start of the 2016-2017 school year. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – At its Aug. 18 meeting, Madison Board of Education approved the district’s 2017 budget and a zoning map.

The adopted budget has more than $1 million in cuts.

To access the 18-page budget document, visit madisoncity.k12.al.us and click “Business/Finance.” In the new window, click “Financial Reports” in the list at the left. Then, click “2017 Budget Presentation- 2nd Hearing.”

Chief Financial Officer Mike Weaver gave a budget presentation. This year, Madison’s school enrollment grew by more than 300 students to 10,238 students. “That’s 80 more (students) so far than projected,” public relations manager John Peck said.

Five of MCS’ seven elementary schools are at or near capacity. Portable classrooms are absorbing Mill Creek’s overflow.

“Meanwhile, the school district is still dealing with a $1.7-million loss of school taxes from the Limestone County tax dispute, along with lingering debt from mortgage payments on so many relatively new schools,” Peck said.

In 1998, Madison separated from Madison County Schools district and founded its own separate system with four school buildings. Today, the district has 11 school buildings.

Weaver’s budget report included a debt service chart showing 14 years before Madison City Schools could take on another payment for a new elementary school without a dedicated source of funding.

“The budget and enrollment presentations raised concerns the school system is fast approaching capacity and inching closer to having the highest pupil-teacher ratio in the state,” Peck said. In Alabama’s 137 public school districts, Madison has the fifth highest pupil-teacher ratios and ranks 61st in per pupil expenditures.

“We’ve got to find a new revenue source, or we will not be striving and thriving the way we are today,” board member Connie Spears said. “We can’t maintain what we are doing without a new revenue stream.”

Other board members agreed that resolving the Limestone case will not cover the district’s growing needs sufficiently.

In other business, MCS Student Services Director Dennis James gave a zoning/school enrollment report. The new zoning map primarily targets land waiting residential development in Limestone County.

North of Powell Road, property now is zoned for Rainbow Elementary School. Undeveloped residential property south of Powell Road is zoned for West Madison Elementary School.

Rainbow and West Madison stand at 79 and 87 percent capacity, respectively, compared to 95 percent capacity or higher for Madison’s remaining elementary schools.

Fowler said a grassroots committee of citizens, education representatives and others soon will be formed to study citywide rezoning of elementary schools. The committee will make a concerted effort to avoid splitting neighborhoods. Efforts will also be made to keep the demographic mix among schools as even as possible.

To view the map, visit madisoncity.k12.al.us and click “School Zones.” In the new window, scroll down and click “Elementary School Zones for 2016-2017.”

MCS has undergone rezoning at least five times. Also, all elementary campuses have used portables until new classrooms were built.

“When high school lines were redrawn with the 2012 opening of James Clemens, it was stated then both schools would balance out in enrollment within four to five years. That prediction came true with each now enrolling slightly over 1,700 students,” Peck said.

“It won’t be long before we have to start looking at secondary school rezonings, too,” Fowler said.

James Clemens High School

Christmas Card Lane brightens downtown streets

Liberty Middle School

World War II, Korea veteran Walt Siffringer accepts Quilt of Valor

Bob Jones High School

beEntrepreneurial [beE] High School Idea Competition sets Dec. 7 deadline

Madison

School board approves bid to turn the old West Madison campus into PreK Center

Bob Jones High School

Greenpower racing builds STEM skills and confidence

Madison

Madison Animal Rescue Foundation in need of new foster homes

Madison

How to submit your child’s “Letter to Santa”

Events

Neighbors: Community theater groups in Decatur to stage ‘ELF: The Musical’

Events

Driving Nights for Galaxy of Lights begin today at Huntsville Botanical Garden

Events

Polar Express Christmas Tree Trail lighting and Wassail Fest being held Friday in downtown Madison

Polar Express Christmas Tree Trail lighting and Wassail Fest being held Friday in downtown Madison

Bob Jones High School

Former Patriot named assistant director of coaching at North Alabama SC

Former Patriot named assistant director of coaching at North Alabama SC

Digital Version

Check out the new issue of Madison Living Magazine

James Clemens High School

James Clemens medical and drama students, first responders simulate trauma scene

Madison

Curbside recycling recovery assistance throughout the weekend

Bob Jones High School

Scholarships at stake in American Legion oratorical contest

Bob Jones High School

Nichols’ podcast avers multi-disciplines feed theatre

Business

Town Madison becomes city’s first Arts & Entertainment District

Events

Asbury Church to present “Lessons & Carols: The Songs of Christmas” on Dec. 4

Events

Christmas at Burritt on the Mountain

Events

Madison Community Band to present “Christmas Journey”

Events

Winter Park at The Orion Amphitheater is now open!

Harvest

Still Serving Veterans named ‘Nonprofit of the Year

James Clemens High School

Markowitz, Odom and Wyche earn BBB’s ‘Torch Award for Ethics’

Bob Jones High School

Arslanbekov of Madison merits first place in von Braun Symposium

x