Debates over proposed Monrovia High School continue

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MADISON COUNTY,  Ala. -- It has been almost five years since Monrovia High School was first agreed to be built. In the years since debates about the school have continued.

"We're concerned that we've been misled," said Madison County Commission Chairman, Dale Strong.

Monrovia High School was supposed to be a school for 1,600 students in Madison County, meant to alleviate overcrowding at Sparkman High School. The Madison County Commission and Madison County Board of Education agreed to build in the school in 2013, but now, almost five years later, there is no Monrovia High School.

 "At this point, we've got a contract that's not truthful," Strong said.
In May 2013, Strong and then Superintendent of Madison County Schools, David Copeland, signed an agreement about how to use tens of millions of dollars in base realignment and closure money that the commission helped obtain. In the years since the agreement, debates about the school continue, from its location or if the school should be built altogether, saying construction costs have risen.

Strong said yes, prices have escalated over the years, but not to the level the school board says it will cost to now build the school. He said if it costs additional money for the project, the board needs to answer, "how much?"

"Do they need ten more million dollars, would that build the school? Would $20 million build it?" Strong said. "I just want to know if they're truly going to build it."

In the agreement, Madison County agreed to give $5 million to build the school, a half a million dollars a year for ten years. Strong said the money the county gives each year, and the millions in BRAC money, are sitting unused, collecting interest.

"And I don't believe it's a good expenditure of tax payer money," Strong said.

Chairman Strong said he plans to meet with the Madison County Schools superintendent, Matt Massey, to get the facts that he said the commission, and taxpayers deserve.


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