Parents take the mic about rezoningPublished 8:21pm Thursday, March 21, 2013
MADISON – Concerns of parents affected by rezoning of Madison elementary schools include traffic jams, longer commutes and leaving their school family in which they are vested.
To discuss rezoning, Madison Board of Education held a work session in the James Clemens High School auditorium on March 21.
Overcrowding at Columbia and Mill Creek elementary schools has caused the need for rezoning. The current plan will change zones for 13 percent of students, or 603 children, in the 4,500 elementary population.
Before taking public comments, board President Ray White explained the school board’s structure and constraints. “You’re here because you love your kids. Rezoning is stressful and we take that very seriously,” White said. “We’re all friends. Keep comments civil and respectful.”
“Our biggest challenge is keeping growth positive,” Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler said. “I would love” to take a resident’s suggestion “to build two new schools right now” and “not worry about population dwindling in (one part) of town” … “The only realistic option is to maximize space, to maximize dollars and we have to rezone. Some of you coming up to the microphone may have better ideas.”
Fowler proposed allowing fifth- and sixth-graders to request a waiver to remain at their current school.
Heritage Station asked to be removed from the rezoning changes. The Jacquelyn Downs spokesperson said, “Punishment should be to as few children as possible.”
Some Madison neighborhoods represented were Foxfield, Edgewater, Shelton Station, Sunset Ridge, Stratford Square, Park Meadow, Liberty Knoll, Brownstone, Georgetown Square, Savannah, Ashley Green and Mountain Brook.
One exception was Walden, whose spokesperson expressed appreciation for exclusion from rezoning.
Director of student services Dennis James previously stated one public suggestion was to place sixth-graders in middle schools. James said that idea would overcrowd Discovery and Liberty campuses.
The board will consider rezoning options at its April 4 meeting.
Students will report to school based on new zones in August.
For more information, visit madisoncity.k12.al.us and click “2013 Rezoning Info” to access the rezoning map.