Parents, teachers debate MPS consolidation plans

Posted by: Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Taken aback by the news of potential school shutdowns, parents and teachers gathered at Carver High School Monday night to question superintendent Barbara Thompson and other administrators.

Moms and dads are trying to wrap their heads around Thompson's proposal to rezone the system and shut down a handful of schools.

The superintendent argues redistricting is a necessity, and the consolidation would save $2 million this year--a bit of relief against state budget cuts.

"The last two years we've had proration of $32 million," Thompson told the crowd.

"That's a substantial amount of money."

Some teachers disagree, pleading for a way to keep their schools off the chopping block.

"The thing is, MPS has a habit of not listening to what the teachers want.  My feeling is that they've already made up their minds to close head elementary school," said Kathy Madaris, a 2nd grade teacher at Head Elementary.

Many parents don't think school shutdowns and rezoning will solve everything.

"I feel like with the system that they're using, a lot of people will start forging the system to get their kids in other schools," said Tiffany Franklin of Montgomery.

"It makes me angry for all the parents out there that are throwing their hearts at the council, and we just feel like they're not listening," said Lisa Lane of Montgomery.

It's a tough battle of popularity versus dollars and cents as administrators try to keep the school system financially stable.

"These are unprecedented times, not just for the Montgomery public schools, but for all school systems in Alabama," said Ron Glover, MPS' finance director.

Parents have two more chances to voice their opinions. The next public hearing is Monday, January 24th at King Elementary, scheduled for 5:00 PM.

The final event is February 1st at Johnnie Carr Middle School, also at 5:00PM.

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