PIKE ROAD, AL (WSFA) - What was bad news for Montgomery Public Schools is good news for the growing Pike Road School System.
On Friday, Interim State Superintendent Ed Richardson announced financial cuts to MPS. Four schools will be closed, including Georgia Washington Middle School, which will be sold to the town of Pike Road.
Months ago, the Montgomery School Board agreed to sell the school to Pike Road but ultimately voted down the sale due to public outcry.
Richardson had the final word on the historic school, however, due to the state's intervention of the school system. In the end, he said the school had to be sold to keep hundreds of teachers from losing their jobs. There are currently 511 students attending Georgia Washington Middle School and 46 employees.
The sale will help MPS with its financial issues and help Pike Road Schools, which is continuing to grow.
Pike Road Mayor Gordon Stone said contracts have been signed and that he's excited to add Georgia Washington Middle School to the Pike Road School System.
"This is an interesting time in public education in Montgomery County and we wanna do everything we can do to be supportive of programming that's going to be good for all of the children," Stone said. "We are pleased that the Georgia Washington facility will be a part of our program, but we're also pleased that the resources that we are spending to help make that happen will be available to help with MPS as it moves forward, taking the steps that are necessary, and we think that could be a good thing," Stone added.
The Pike Road School System currently has only two campuses, Georgia Washington will be its third.
"It will fit in perfectly with our growth," Stone went on. "We've experienced exceptional support for our system and our community. It's been overwhelmingly positive about what's going on in our schools. Our elementary facility is full, our middle school facility is full, so this provides a great opportunity for us to complete all of our classroom needs to fulfill that objective and do so in a way that also helps the children throughout the county."
The school will be sold to Pike Road for $9.75 million. Pike Road will pay an additional $1.5 million to MPS to repay money the Alabama State Department of Education accidentally sent to Pike Road that was intended to go to Montgomery Public Schools. The sale will be paid in one payment at closing.
"We don't have any control of what happens anywhere except in the Pike Road School System," Stone stated. "So, what we've tried to do is say if we can do something that meets our needs, while at the same time helping this county to be the best place it can possibly be, then that's a good thing."
Georgia Washington Middle School will close at the end of the school year and students currently attending there will be moved to other MPS schools.