Poll shows major lack of confidence in Montgomery board, schools

Poll shows major lack of confidence in Montgomery board, schools
The MPS BOE will be notified of specific concerns leaders need to address by an agency that will monitor MPS next year (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce released results Friday of a poll it took earlier in the month of 500 registered Montgomery County voters. The topic of the poll was how voters view the Montgomery County Board of Education and Montgomery Public Schools as a system.

In addition to the 500 voters polled over the phone, 100 cell phone interviews were conducted. The polls were done by an outside party.

Seven in 10 people who participated in the survey stated they believe MPS is in a crisis and blame the system's top leadership. About 75 percent believe the school board is to blame for low test scores across MPS and the system's financial issues.

And 75 percent also rate the board's performance and the quality of MPS, as a whole, between fair and poor.

About 22 percent of respondents gave a "good" rating, and three percent gave an "excellent" rating.

More than 55 percent of survey participants want board members to be replaced when five of the seven reach the end of their terms this year.

Board President Robert Porterfield said he is skeptical of the poll results.

"I don't know who these people are or where they are coming from," Porterfield said. "If they want to blame the leadership, they cannot possibly overlook the lack of funding."

Porterfield has repeatedly stated that MPS' issues are a result of a lack of local funding to support growth. However, State Superintendent Dr. Ed Richardson has said it would not be wise to put more money into a system that has not managed the money it has well.

When asked about the number of people wanting new board members, Porterfield, whose term ends this year, said, "They can blame the board, but it doesn't matter who is in charge if the resources aren't there."

He said he has not announced whether he will run for re-election but said he would be confident if he did.

"Polling doesn't matter," Porterfield said. "All that matters is what the citizens decide when they make their votes for the school board this year."

When asked if he was concerned about being re-elected, he said "Absolutely not. Why should I be?"

Meanwhile, Montgomery Chamber Board Chairman Judge Charles Price released a statement in a press release for the poll:

"Strong leadership is needed to transform our schools, and the Montgomery Chamber, joined by young professionals and families of Montgomery and the Mayor along with a host of other community leaders, are calling upon the community to identify and support candidates who recognize the purpose of education to prepare students to continue their development through certification programs, two and four year colleges, military service and beyond. It is imperative that this be done to ensure Montgomery's economic future, safety and quality of life."

The release also listed which terms end in 2018 and provided a website for anyone interested in qualifying for the June 5 election. It also reminded the public that the deadline to qualify is Feb 9 at 5 p.m.

You can review the report presented to the chamber board of the poll results here.

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