School Board votes to close schools

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Montgomery School Board voted 6-1 to pass Superintendent Barbara Thompson's controversial plan to consolidate and rezone some Montgomery schools.

The plan affects nearly all 31,000 students in the school system and will start chipping away at a $9 million deficit the school system faces for next year. Robert Porterfield was the only board member to vote no.

There are more cuts ahead, Thompson told WSFA 12 News on Friday morning.

Thompson told WSFA 12 News that the next step is to meet with principals, teachers and children to go over the changes that lie ahead. She said there are some benefits to the closings -- there will now be more resources at the schools that remain open.

"We will redistribute the resources from the eight lost schools," she said.

The consolidation will reduce the deficit by about $3.5 million, but more cuts are on the way, she said. Prior to Thursday's vote, MPS released a statement saying it would cut $2 million by not renewing non-tenured personnel at the Central Office -- about a third of the projected salary deductions for next fiscal year.

"We're starting at the top and cutting down," she said.

The board meets again Monday at the Central Office to consider a "reduction in force," proposal that will allow the superintendent to reduce the number of tenured employees in the system, according to the release from MPS. That includes further cuts in Central Office staff as well as school-based personnel.

On March 8, the board will meet at Bellingrath Middle School to consider the individual positions that will be cut.

School officials will look at reorganizing departments and consolidating the Central Offices, Thompson said.

Parents, teachers and students showed up for the vote Thursday night at Carver High School. The vote came after five public forums with parents and multiple revisions to the original plan, board members finally gave the plan the go ahead. The plan would save the school system more than $3.5 million in the first year.

Superintendent Barbara Thompson said Wednesday that the system has seen a $33 million drop in funding since she's been on the job, and that something has to be done.

Eight schools will close as a result of the vote. Those schools include:

  1. Hayneville Road Elementary
  2. Harrison Elementary
  3. Head Elementary
  4. Mckee Elementary will become Macmillan Elementary Magnet
  5. Macmillan Elementary Magnet
  6. McIntyre Middle
  7. Houston Hill Middle
  8. Daisy Lawrence

Floyd Middle Magnet and Seth Johnson Elementary will also stay open.

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