Madison County Superintendent-Elect Matt Massey argues against new Monrovia high school

Huntsville
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MADISON COUNTY, Ala (WHNT) - Three weeks before he is set to take over his new role, Madison County Superintendent-Elect Matt Massey presented his plan for capital improvements in the district to the board Thursday night.

His plans do not include a new $46 million high school in Monrovia. Massey had longed voiced his concerns over the proposal, but for the first time was able to discuss with the board his capital improvement plans.

Instead of building a new school, which Massey argues would hurt both the district's finances, as well as many of its academic programs, he wants to focus on improving existing ones, such as Sparkman High School. He says that these projects should increase the quality of the educational experience for students.

"Our students deserve a high quality. They're demanding it. They're developing this curriculum and we need to try to meet that need. And right now we're struggling, we're trying, but we're not and this is a chance to really catch up and meet a lot of those needs."

His plan calls for a performing arts and music center at Sparkman High school, noting the excellence of the school's band and theater programs.

According to Massey, every 7A high school north of Tuscaloosa has a performing arts center except for the three 7A schools in the Madison County School District.

"It's time for us to kind of step up and offer a facility to meet the needs that our communities and schools have developed."

He also calls for upgrades to the district's IT infrastructure. Seventy-four percent of the district's computers and servers are more than three years old, while the neighboring district, Huntsville City Schools, has only five percent in that age range.

"Upgrades vault Madison County schools to a level playing field with all of our systems around us and it is the missing piece to what is really going to carry Madison County forward," said Massey.

Massey also argues that the overcrowding of Sparkman High School is a misconception. An April report states that Sparkman is operating at 95 percent capacity. He notes that the feeder schools' declining growth is proof that a new high school is not needed.

In his last board meeting, outgoing superintendent David Copeland made one final plea to build a new school saying that the area is still growing.

"I think the people of Monrovia and the people of Harvest and Toney deserve that building. I think it meets the needs of this system for the next 25 to 50 years."

The board already approved the decision to build a new school and the site of it is already prepped.

"I just think it would be a travesty to not move forward because I think where you would regret it would be down the road when that growth hits that area," said Copeland.

Massey will take over as superintendent on January 1st and his first meeting is scheduled for January 15th.

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