Parents Question Need For New High School In Madison County

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - The Madison County School Board received public feedback for the first time since the County Commission gave the district $56 million in BRAC funds to pay for new building projects.

One of those projects, a new high school, was met with criticism and concern at a public forum Monday evening.

"There are merits for a second school but why Monrovia? Why not someplace else? Also the size of the school concerns us," said David Weis, a parent of two Sparkman High School students.

Several parents raised concerns the school would divide the community along socio-economic lines, and called for rezoning to ensure the schools would be balanced.

Superintendent David Copeland says while he welcomes the feedback, many of the concerns are premature.

"[Rezoning] is an issue we'll have to discuss, but it's kind of premature because you're looking at a two-year project after you turn dirt over for a new high school," said Copeland.

Parents weren't the only ones to voice concerns.  Sparkman High School Senior Class President Patrick Fitzgerald spoke on behalf of the student body, questioning the necessity of a new high school and raising concerns programs near and dear to student's hearts would be cut in the process.

"We don't have the crowding problem that goes with the needs of needing a new school. We can build a mega campus and keep our relevance in the state," said Fitzgerald, who has created the website StandForSparkman.com in a campaign to expand Sparkman High School.

Superintendent Copeland said he stood behind the board's plan, which includes getting rid of the portable classrooms, adding a new intermediate school, and adding expansions to a few others.

A few teachers also spoke out at the meeting to show their support for the plan, and attest to the problem of overcrowding.