MADISON, Ala.-The Madison City School Board has voted unanimously to move 6th graders to middle schools beginning with the 2018/2019 school year. The vote came around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday night.
In February new superintendent Robby Parker proposed a plan to deal with the growing student population. At the time he said the district was growing by about 250 kids a year.
“By putting them at Liberty and Discovery we feel like we can offer them a lot more than we can offer them split up seven ways," said Superintendent Robby Parker.
From a curriculum standpoint, Parker said sixth graders will be able to take new classes in the STEM concentration, like Advanced Math.
“And that’s ultimately the game changer for us, we’re going to offer 900 kids tremendous opportunities that they just weren’t offered in the elementary schools," he said.
The move will save space in seven elementary schools that are bursting at the seams, at 95 percent capacity.
“By moving them into the middle schools, we feel like it will give us approximately 10 years before we have to build another elementary school," said Parker.
The decision will require expansion at the middle schools. Discovery Middle will be less strained, because it's the old Bob Jones High and has room to grow. As for Liberty Middle, it will get a much more hands on face lift.
"We’re planning to add somewhere between 16 and 20 classrooms , we’re going to make the cafeteria larger, and we’re going to expand the gymnasium," he said.
The change won't take place until the 2018-2019 school year, hopefully giving crews enough time to implement the changes.
"Well that’s certainly the plan, but we know we're on a tight schedule," said Parker.
But even if they don't, Superintendent Parker is confident they can handle whatever comes their way.
“As much as we grow in the city of Madison, this won’t be the first time we’ve had that challenge," said Parker.
The board proposed $300,000 in expansion efforts at both Liberty and Discovery Middle School.
The board also gave Superintendent Parker permission to search for a construction manager to oversee all this new construction.