Plans for a high school in Monrovia clears one hurdle, but has several to go

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - The controversy continues over a proposed new Madison County high school in the Monrovia area.

Dreams of turning the farm field into a new high school have been a community conversation for decades, and a plan on hold for nearly three years. Madison County Schools originally agreed to put a 1,600 student school on Pine Grove Road, but they've hit several roadblocks along the way.

Two weeks ago, Madison County School Board members indicated hesitation about moving forward with the project all together, due to current economic conditions.

“Some of us are questioning about whether or not that’s still the best plan," said Angie Bates, the Madison County School Board President, in an interview with WHNT News 19 two weeks ago.

The plan cleared a key challenge Thursday night, being included in the proposed 2018 school year budget.

“Our budget right now is 42,125,290," Karen O’Bannon told the crowd at the board meeting Thursday.

42 million dollars may sound like a lot, but after land purchases, architectural designs and other property services, that's all the district has left allocated for the project.

Superintendent Matt Massey indicated in a previous board meeting, they may only be able to afford a 900 student capacity school, with no athletic facilities and no auditorium.

Then there's the issue of the Federal Desegregation Order.

"Just kind of working out the legal piece of that and move forward in that process," said Massey.

The district would have to have any rezoning approved by a federal court judge before that could move forward.

"We’ve got a timeline we’re trying to meet. We know it’s a time sensitive project and we know folks are ready to move forward. I think everybody involved on both sides are ready to move forward," said the Superintendent.

So while the dream remains alive for now, whether it actually becomes true, is yet to be determined.

Superintendent Massey told WHNT News 19 one of the biggest reasons they struggle with funding, is that the district receives far less tax revenue from county residents than the surrounding Huntsville and Madison City School districts.