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Madison schools grow with the population

BY JILL PRIDHAM / FOR THE RECORD

The growth of Madison has made it one of Alabama’s fastest growing cities and Money Magazine has it listed again on the 100 places to live.

Madison is a family friendly place to live with an education system that is a primary reason people move here.

Over the last four decades Madison has seen huge changes in the schools located in the city. In the 1960s there were two schools, one black and one white. By the end of that decade there were still only two schools but they were desegregated.

In the early 1970s the leaders of the city appointed a committee to look at the future educational needs of Madison. The outcome of the work done by that committee was Bob Jones High School and the idea that Madison would work toward having its own school system when the time came.

The population of Madison during this time wasn’t much about 1,500 people. Most of the area was still farmland.

“It felt like it took 30 minutes to go from Highway 72 to Highway 20, because there wasn’t anything to break up the scenery,” Madison School Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler said.

Fowler also remembers a time when the middle school basketball games were played in what is now Madison Elementary School’s library.

Thirty years ago at the beginning of the 1980s, there were three schools in the city: one kindergarten through second grade, one third grade through eighth grade, and a high school.

Liberty Middle School was built and opened in the 1991 as a magnet school for Madison County. New elementary schools were planned and built during this time to accommodate the exploding population of Madison. A new Bob Jones High School opened its doors in 1996 and the original high school became a second middle school.

During this same decade Madison began to once again look at breaking off from the county school system and developing its own city school system. There were many in the county who felt that the city would fail if they separated from the county system.

By 1998, the residents of Madison had voted to create and fund a city school system, which has become one of the top educational systems in Alabama.

The new millennia saw the addition of more elementary schools built for the still growing population.

With seven elementary schools, two middle schools and a high school over flowing with students Madison is now the second largest school system in the state of Alabama. A new high school is currently being built to accommodate the increasing student population.

In a short period of time the system that was expected by some to fail has become a top educational system. Well done.

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