Superintendent's plans include major changes at all levels

MPS Superintendent Barbara Thompson
MPS Superintendent Barbara Thompson

Posted by Samuel King - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The superintendent of Montgomery Public Schools formally unveiled her proposals that could change the face of the school system.  Schools will be closed, other students could find themselves going to new schools and new buildings will be built.

The change that could have the most impact on all students is a revamping of the attendance zones. Superintendent Barbara Thompson says officials tried to keep students as close to home as possible.

"We also tried to avoid crossing major highways, we tried to keep neighborhoods together," Thompson said.  "So we really think we put a lot of time and effort into looking at the attendance areas, and looking at where kids were going to go, after we close the schools."

Hayneville Road Elementary, Harrison Elementary, Head Elementary, Seth Johnson Elementary and MacMillan Elementary Magnet could close.  McIntyre and Houston Hill Middle, and Floyd Middle Magnet could close, too.  Floyd Magnet would move into the old Seth Johnson building and MacMillan Magnet to Houston Hill.

Some parents are concerned about the proposed changes.

"I love their school, their school is really good," said Nila Grimsley, a parent with four children in the Montgomery Public Schools.  "So to go to another one, depending on where they're zoned for, it just would really be kind of an inconvenience for me to go through a new system again."

"I don't think the kids like that, they're so used to going to their school and everything," said Donnell McCall, a parent with three children who attended Montgomery Public Schools.  "If you rezone them, they ask we have to be rezoned and they're used to that school being open."

But the superintendent argues the changes will benefit students and save the district money.  The district faces a deficit of $6 million in the next school year, and that's before any potential proration is taken into account.

"I'm sure they're going to get lots of pressure from families and community members not to do this, but we don't have a choice," Thompson said.  "We cannot maintain status quo."

The proposals also include the start of the process of building a new east side high school that would open in 2013.

You have a chance to voice your opinions on the re-zoning changes. There are three public hearings scheduled:

January 18th at Carver High School.

January 20th at Carr Middle.

January 24th at King Elementary.

Each one starts at 5:00pm.

To look at the rezoning lines and recommendations made to the school board CLICK HERE.

The school board is scheduled to vote on the proposal on February 15th.

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