Montgomery to study city-run schools

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Montgomery City Council voted to commission a study to look at whether the city should run its own school system. The 5-4 vote underscored just how divided the council is on the issue.

Councilman Glen Pruitt pushed the plan.  He said he was pleased that it passed, but also a bit surprised by the vote's outcome.

"It's a way to start conversation," Pruitt said.  "You know, we're not going to wake up tomorrow morning and have a city school system.  All this is, is a study."

But other city officials, including Mayor Todd Strange, were skeptical about the proposal.

"It would be very tough to bifurcate the scenario," the Mayor said.  "We'd be taking on financial obligations that would really be unknown."

The mayor supports engaging in more discussions with the school board, and also consideration of a proposal to add charter schools to help improve education.

"I'm going to support that on a state level, and at a Montgomery County level," the Mayor said.  "There are some good charter schools around, and there are some bad charter schools, that depends on what the charter is."

Montgomery County School Board President Charlotte Meadows said she expects the legislature to approve a charter school bill soon.

As for the feasibility study, she understands why the council voted as it did.

"Until we get where we all want it to be, which is an excellent education for every student, I think we're all going to continue to work together on bringing that to pass," Meadows said.

A formal study could cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, an expense the mayor said he opposes.  So it remains to be seen what form the study will take.

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