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Parker answers frequent questions about MCS vision

MADISON – As a follow-up to his “State of the Schools” report, Superintendent Robby Parker compiled the ten most frequently asked questions about the 10-year vision for Madison City Schools.

* What’s the most critical need of Madison City schools to remain a top performing school district?

* “Schools. Continued growth of 200 to 300 students per year will push capacity of (existing) schools at all levels beyond 100 percent within a few year if steps aren’t taken,” Parker said.

* What is the proposal for new buildings?

* A new elementary school (needs to open) by 2021 and repurposing West Madison Elementary School into a Pre-K Center, Parker said. A new middle school (needs to open) by 2023, and new capacity for high school students, whether it be expansions to Bob Jones and James Clemens or a third high school by 2026.

* “Be mindful, though, that schools take a lot of time from inception to opening: approximately three years from board approval, to site acquisition, design, bids, construction, inspection, staff and operational decisions and final completion,” Parker said. “Add to that discussions and authorization for a new revenue source and the timeline could stretch another year or two.”

* Can MCS afford to build?

“Not without a new revenue source. Our borrowing capability — or mortgage — is tapped out,” Parker said.

* Where will the new elementary and middle schools be built?

* No sites identified.

* When will a decision be made to build a new high school or build on to James Clemens and Bob Jones?

* “No decisions have been made. We will continue to monitor growth trends and seek community input,” he said.

* When will West Madison become a Pre-K Center?

* “That depends on whether our community is in favor of creating a second Pre-K Center and whether we can find a way to pay for a new elementary school,” Parker said.

* Can we add Pre-K classes if we do not make West Madison a Pre-K Center?

* MCS will be limited in its ability to expand Pre-K classes, if a new elementary school does not open in 2021.

* What will happen if we do not build new schools?

* “We will become overcrowded, and the quality of education will erode,” Parker said.

* Who will be rezoned?

* “The whole district is subject to rezoning,” Parker said.

* What are the cost projections and proposed timetable for new schools?

* “A 900-student capacity elementary school for opening in 2021 is projected at $34 million,” he said. “A new middle school (2023 opening) for 1,200 students will include a planned Performing Arts Center for use by the entire district and cost $61 million.”

A new high school (2,000 capacity with estimated completion in 2026) will cost up to $120 million in “tomorrow’s dollars,” Parker said. “That includes the cost for land and with a stadium. An alternative to a new high school would be expanding Bob Jones and James Clemens for a total of $18 million to accommodate 500 more students each.”

To access the feedback form to ask questions or make comments, visit madisoncity.k12.al.us, scroll down and click the link under the “2018 State of the Schools address” heading.

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