Editorial: Community Conversations

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Montgomery Public Schools have lost 32 million dollars the past two years due to funding cuts.

Montgomery's population has shifted with a majority of people now residing in the East but there are only 24 schools in the East part of town compared to 34 schools in the west part of town.

Because of the funding cuts and population shifts, the school board is considering closing several schools that have 2,500 empty seats between them.

The new zoning plans aim to have students travel no more than two and a half miles to school.

The plan also involves adding a new high school in the East Side of town to prevent losing students to other parts of the region or to private schools, and adding slots and improving facilities to meet the growing demand for magnet school education.

To do nothing is not an option and to do what is proposed requires plenty of strong will.

Key to executing the plan or changing it is community input.   There are two more public hearings prior to the scheduled February 15th board vote.

In addition, there are several community conversation meetings being set up over the next two months by the Montgomery Education Foundation to engage the community in determining the focus, direction and priorities for the school system moving forward.

Similar community conversations have already taken place in Mobile, Birmingham and Dothan.  One thousand students have come back into the public school system in Dothan after their community conversations two years ago and Mobile's schools are showing marked improvement since their conversations.

We encourage community input into what is clearly the most important aspect of our community: educating our citizens the best way possible.