MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Summer is coming to a close for students and teachers in Madison County. Wednesday marks the first day of school for the Madison County School System (MCSS).
This year, administrators say they have taken steps to ensure the classroom is a safe space for students.
“The vision of our district in Madison County Schools is to provide a safe and secure environment for students and staff,” said Madison County Superintendent Ken Kubik.
Five Madison County schools previously without airlock chambers have them this year, preventing people from gaining direct access to the school entrances. In the future, you will likely see corridors built to connect main buildings with separate gymnasiums and weapons detection systems placed at entryways.
The Madison County Board of Education (BOE) has added two new school resource officers (SROs), meaning the district now pays for 13 of the 20 total officers. The BOE is also working with the Madison County Sheriff’s Officer to station off-duty deputies on campuses that do not have full-time SROs.
Kubik says the district wants safety to extend beyond the classroom to the times students arrive and leave campus.
“[Meridianville Middle School] is right in the middle of the parkway between Huntsville and Tennessee,” Kubik said. “There were backups going in and off the campus. We’ve widened that entry point, so that’ll get more cars off the roadway which is going to improve not only the safety and security of our families dropping off kids, but also the travelers that are moving north and south up the parkway.”
Drivers will likely notice a lot of traffic on and near Madison County school campuses that will require drivers to slow down and pay attention. While school is starting back up for students on Wednesday, teachers and administrators have been working over the past few months to get ready for the year.
Kubik says there is a lot of draw to North Alabama. The district is experiencing growth at a faster rate than seen in previous years and this means many new students. Parts of the county have been rezoned with the goal of optimizing the capacity of schools, making sure students have access to facilities that provide the learning environment they need.
Plans are also in place to build a new school north of HWY 53 in Toney on land the district owns. Kubik says these new projects are not without challenges.
“The Madison County School System does not have the same tax base that Huntsville and Madison City do,” Kubik said. “We have to be really, really good stewards of the money.”
He says the district will take unprecedented action in the building of the new school.
“We’re going to work on building this school and pay as you go versus a bond and that’s because of the fiscal responsibility of this district, we’ve been able to go ahead and work on this school,” Kubik said.
The district is working on finding other capital streams to help finance projects supporting the expansion of the school system, according to the superintendent. He says everything comes back to supporting the students and providing them with as many opportunities as possible.