MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — On Oct. 16, 1997, the Madison City Board of Education was formed, and on this anniversary, Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols said the parents and local leaders who worked to form the school district 25 years ago hoped to provide local children with the best possible education.

He said that mission continues to this day.

“Today, we feel like we are living out that vision that they started 25 years ago,” Nichols said.

In the 1990s, students living in Madison and Triana attended schools under the jurisdiction of Madison County, but local parents said they wanted more influence in their children’s educations.

“We were being treated inadequately,” said former Madison City Council President Marc Jacobson. “We were in portables all over the place. We couldn’t choose our own curriculum. We had to do whatever the county did.”

They made the decision to leave the county school system, but the move came with obstacles. The schools in Madison and Triana were subject to the desegregation order impacting Madison County, so the city required permission from a federal judge to form a separate school system.

Madison City Schools won its case, and the partnership between Madison and Triana remains today.

“This has been a great journey for the town of Triana, a great partnership,” said Triana Mayor Mary Caudle. “We’re proud to be a part of it, and we hope to have great success in the future.”

In 1998, Madison City Schools opened its doors for the first day of school.

Today, the school district is the 12th largest in the state, serving more than 12,000 students. It is comprised of two high schools, two middle schools, and seven elementary schools.

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“The vision of that group was to build and create a school system that would lead in this state and in this nation, and I can promise you those desires are still there every day with the men and women that serve this community and this school system,” Nichols said.

As the population of Madison grows, so does the school system. Construction on a third middle school is almost complete. Journey Middle School is set to open for the 2023-2024 school year.