Closings & Delays across the Tennessee Valley

Madison City Schools deals with issues that come with student population growth

MADISON, Ala. - As Madison City Schools' student population grows, other issues come along too. The district is using the summer to make important decisions to deal with that growth.

"This year we look to gain about 300 new students," said Superintendent Robby Parker on Thursday. "We finished last year with 10,800 students. We are anticipating about 11,150 coming in. We don't know the exact number yet."

The school system anticipated growth like that, so it made the decision last school year to move 6th grade into the district's middle schools. This is to alleviate pressure on the filled elementary schools.

"We've spent close to ten-million dollars to prepare the two schools for the sixth-grade move," said Parker.

Recently, the board also approved hiring some new assistant principals to fill the now, larger middle schools.

"We added two new assistant principal positions," Parker said. He said they also filled some jobs within the central office.

Parker said it is also important to note that the district has hired more mental health counselor, enough to have one at every school this upcoming school year.

"Last year, we had a couple of mental health counselors that were shared between the middle and the high school, and very little coverage in the elementary schools. We've gone out on a limb and we've hired mental health counselors that will cover every single school. We think that will be a very positive thing for our children," Parker said.

With the Limestone County tax dispute finally resolved, Parker said money from the compromise is now rolling in. It's helping with the hiring process.

"That's operation money. Where we can hire staff," he said. "One thing it has helped us to do, it has helped us lower our class size a little bit."

But he said the district still has a long way to go when compared to other districts in the state.

"We're a little bit better this year. We are 117th out of 137," he stated. "There are 116 districts that have a better student-teacher ratio than Madison City Schools. And so the Limestone County tax money has helped us to lower it a little bit, but you can see that's relative."

The first day of school is fast approaching in August, but Parker said he is keeping this idea at the forefront of what they do in the district office: "I want our kids to win at everything they do."

As the district seeks to find space for kids, it must also fill positions that come with the rise in student population to be ready for the new year.