MPS postpones vote on new high school

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Montgomery County Board of Education members are taking their time making a decision on starting another building project.

Despite encouragement from the city and county leaders, the board is waiting to make the call on a new high school in east Montgomery.

After meeting away from the eyes of the public in an executive session, the board reconvened Tuesday afternoon, ready to vote on a plan to add another high school to the system.

Right now, Jeff Davis High School handles most of the eastern half of the system.  Superintendent Barbara Thompson says adding another high school is a good idea.

"I think it's an ideal time because you have to look at the buildings that you might consolidate moving on, so it's not just about building, it's about consolidating. It's also about looking where your growth is," Thompson explained.

City and county leaders realize the potential for expansion out east. They even pledged tens of millions of dollars toward the project--available if the board acts quickly.

"There are a couple of incentive financing vehicles that are available that will go away at the end of this year," Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange told the board.

Board members were reluctant to approve the measure.  Many cited the ongoing work on existing projects, including an advanced manufacturing program at the New Carver High School.

"We need to take care of our students that we already have and not worry about what we can have.  We know what we have now, so let's deal with it," said board member Mary Briers.

Right now, the vote is now on hold, while members think about the project's importance to the system.

"There are a lot of kids out there that we can get that are not Montgomery public school students back in Montgomery public schools," explained board member Melissa Snowden.

Board members could vote on the plans for a new eastside high school as early as their next meeting.

The board did approve a new streamlined organization chart for the system's central office.  The move is expected to save the system money.

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