School board approves new rezoning plan

This map shows the proposed elementary school zones for 2016-2017. CONTRIBUTED
This map shows the proposed elementary school zones for 2016-2017. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Madison Board of Education has approved a new rezoning plan for elementary schools.

With this action, the board is dealing with overcrowding, especially in the fast growing section of Madison within Limestone County.

At Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler’s recommendation, the board created a new “unassigned” zoning classification that applies to land awaiting development. “Then, as homes and subdivisions are built, the board can zone those areas to schools that have the space to accept them, even if not necessarily the closest in distance,” Public Relations Manager John Peck said.

The new plan does not rezone existing homes and neighborhoods.

With the unassigned classification for school zoning, the school district gains more flexibility to designate a school zone to developing neighborhoods later on a space-available basis, Peck said.

This action places “future buyers on notice that they will be zoned to Madison City Schools on a space-available basis, not necessarily one that may be closest to their new subdivision,” Peck said.

One tract in the unassigned zone is the proposed Greenbrier Hills development in Limestone County. One of 200 proposed homes is under construction. Students in Greenbrier Hills will attend Heritage Elementary School.

The board’s action offers relief to the ongoing budget concerns from uncollected taxes for education paid by Madison residents in Limestone County. Mill Creek Elementary School now has portable classrooms to deal with overcrowding on Madison’s western perimeter.

Before the new plan, all land within Madison City Limits was assigned to one of seven elementary school zones.

“We are trying to set it (zoning designation) early before they are inhabited and then look at it on a case-by-case basis,” Fowler said. The board will try to group neighborhoods and avoid splits.

Fowler made a firm prediction for elementary rezoning in 2017. In about two years, portables will be located on all elementary campuses. In addition, high schools will be rezoned eventually.

“Growing pains are nothing new for Madison City Schools,” Peck said. “The system has undergone rezoning at least five times since becoming a school district in 1998.” Also, all elementary campuses have used portables until construction of a new school.

To view a zoning map, visit madisoncity.k12.al.us, click “School Zones” in the list to the left and click “Proposed Elementary School Zones for 2016-2017.”

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