In recent years, Madison County Schools have seen tremendous growth, resulting in more kids than classroom space.
WHNT News 19 checked-in with the district for a back-to-school update on enrollment and this year, administrators are expecting only minimal growth. That should help take some of the pressure off teachers who are already coping with bare-minimum funding and packed classrooms.
At the same time, the district is moving forward with plans to renovate and expand. “Now that we have the BRAC money,” explained Mary Louise Stowe, Madison Co. Board of Education President, “We’re going to be able to build some schools. That will kind of help with the overcrowding.”
School starts on August 19th in Madison County. The district now educates nearly 20,000 students. Though the district is planning to expand its building capacity in the coming years staffing will likely hold steady – at least for this year. Stowe said the district is not expecting to make any layoffs but also not planning to hire new teachers.
Teachers may face challenges in addition to the crowding issues. At New Hope, Owens Cross Roads and Central Schools, new air conditioning and heating units are going in and things are behind schedule.
“I was in one of those schools [recently,” said Stowe, “There was no air and I’m thinking, ‘Oh my goodness we’re getting close!’”
That delay means teachers are not able to get into their rooms and, according to Stowe, that’s a major problem for elementary teachers in particular. Despite the slowdowns, administrators are confident things will finish up in time for the start of the new school year.