MPS Superintendent details her plans for the system's future

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Call it the superintendent's wish list. Another high school on Montgomery's fast growing east side. Barbara Thompson also wants to keep Pintlala Elementary open while the system builds a single facility for grades K-12 in south Montgomery County.

Thompson also wants to keep embattled Hayneville Road open through the upcoming school year. She says, "It doesn't save us anything at this point to close it. It gives us a year to decide what we are going to do with those kids."

That's the superintendent's dreams, but then there's the reality: a financial crisis. "Every student deserves a new facility, but when it comes down to dollars and cents, I am concerned we do not have the money," says Board Member Charlotte Meadows.

Worst case scenario? The system would be forced to cut 168 teachers and trim six million dollars just from the local budget. She says county and city government would have to pay for the two new schools. "My money is limited, I'm certainly willing to contribute operational costs," says Thompson.

Thompson has met with other local leaders like City Councilman Glenn Pruitt to discuss the public schools system's future. Pruitt is interested as a city councilman and as a parent. However, he isn't sure they'll be able to come up with the money. He says, "We have to figure out if we have the money to do it. I don't know if we do or not."

The superintendent is also looking for ways to cut back. One plan: consolidate buildings the school system owns which would mean moving out of the current central office location. She says the system would not buy a new building, but wouldn't elaborate. She said, "Come Tuesday night. It's going to be a surprise."  Tuesday, the board will hold a Committee of the Whole meeting. Board members are expected to get more details about the superintendent's plan.

Thompson would also like to see all ninth graders moved to high schools and all middle schools housing only 6th through 8th grades. The board still has to vote on all the recommendations.

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