Madison County Schools prepares for first day of classes

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Next week, students will head back to class in Madison County, but before that happens, teachers and administrators are racing to the finish line to get everything ready for their return.

"We’ve had a great week of our teachers and counselors and our support team coming in and we’re getting ready, and we’ll be ready for kids come Wednesday," says Superintendent Matt Massey.

One big change this school year - the calendar. Students will now have longer breaks at home with their families.

"We worked the calendar to be able to have that week of Thanksgiving Break and a week for Fall break and those things that are valuable to our families and they wanted those so we listened," says Massey.

With each new year, comes new challenges. All Alabama Public Schools will be using a new federal accountability test, the Scantron, but because it could be a temporary replacement, the district doesn't plan on investing much into the program.

“The opportunity that creates is really focus on ourselves and getting better," he says.

Massey tells us their greatest challenge has nothing to do with the classroom and everything to do with money. Only in their case, doing a whole lot more, with a lot less.

“We’re one of the highest performing school systems in the state, even though we’re one of the lowest funded, because that’s what we expect," says Massey.

The superintendent is frustrated that Madison County has the second highest median income in the state, but ranks 118th in district funding in Alabama.

“The reason is just the tax structure, it’s really nobody in particular’s fault, so that really guides what we do," he says.

While Madison County receives less money than some of their cross-town districts, Massey is confident when students return to class they won't even notice the difference.

“We want to support students, but it does come down to the amount of dollars and what you can do," says Massey.

This is also the first year Madison County Schools is starting on a Wednesday.

Superintendent Massey believes a shorter first week will ease everyone back into the school year routine.