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Old 04-08-2008, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,338 posts, read 93,446,398 times
Reputation: 17827

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Have voters in Madison County historically voted "Yes" on school funding? Does either Madison Schools or Huntsville City Schools have a more pro-school funding bias? Has a bond ever failed?

What have been public criticisms of the school board(s)? Any high ranking school board member ever get fired?

Is more money needed for schools? Are the schools expected to get it? Do voters vote "No" on "Yes" when it comes to school funding?

Any comments on the relationship between the schools boards and the community? Is the school board perceived as secretive? Are they open? Are they credible? Are they an "X in the box" type of organization? Do they go over and beyond? Do they listen to parents? Has any parent ever proactively changed "the system"?

Have the students suffered? Are there cutbacks in services (sports, after school, extracurricular, clubs, buses, etc)? Are there layoffs (staff, faculty)?

Has any one seen any degradation in appearance at the schools? "We just don't have the money to water the lawn or plant flowers anymore....", "We are now cleaning the restrooms three times per week instead of daily...."
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Old 04-08-2008, 10:32 AM
 
4,739 posts, read 10,381,154 times
Reputation: 4186
Just like the rest of Alabama, when voters in Madison County are given the opportunity to vote on a tax increase, they almost always vote it down.

Huntsville City and Madison County spend more for schools than Madison County (guessing at least 50% more property tax millage). IIRC in June a school funding referendum will be on the ballot.

Is more money needed for schools? If you ask the school administrators, they say yes. But keep in mind that HSV City Schools are at about 60% of capacity overall, and some schools are at about 30% of capacity (others are way overcrowded).

Are they likely to get it? Probably not. For example, IIRC last year a group of School Board members / administrators spent thousands of dollars at a resort retreat to discuss how to increase school funding - those types of actions don't give voters the impression that more taxes are needed.

I know that the HSV City School Superintendent Ann Roy Moore places a high priority on keeping the schools clean and maintained.

Intro to current school funding issues:

Quote:
At a meeting with Times editors and reporters, the leaders said they doubt voters would approve a half-cent sales tax increase for school construction.
Leaders say pull sales tax vote- al.com

Local political blogger - includes some school issues:

Flashpoint
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,338 posts, read 93,446,398 times
Reputation: 17827
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reactionary View Post
But keep in mind that HSV City Schools are at about 60% of capacity overall, and some schools are at about 30% of capacity (others are way overcrowded).

Thank You for your detailed responses.


Why is this? Is it the demographic timing: lots of kids were born in the 1950s, schools were built, they were full in the 1970s, now the kids are gone, and the schools are not full? Or, is it a choice thing: Most kids want to go to schools A and not school B?
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Old 04-08-2008, 01:42 PM
 
4,739 posts, read 10,381,154 times
Reputation: 4186
IMO some of it is due to a Federal Desegration order that has been interpreted to mean that schools cannot be built in 'white' areas unless the school can serve blacks. A recent example is Providence ES / MS school, built to accomodate growth in that area. In order to comply with the deseg order (and NCLB) the school was zoned in such a way that kids in poorly performing black schools were zoned into the new 'white' school.

So Providence (capacity 800) has 798 students, IIRC half of whom are black. Note that HSV is 30% black. West Huntsville schools that were rezoned are now way below capacity (they were already below capacity).

You asked about parental involvement; some parents at Providence (and probably developers) are trying to get the city to unzone some of the kids who were zoned into that district.

It's a tough issue and the City may be looking at getting the deseg order lifted, which will allow the City to have more flexibility in school zoning and construction and closure. For example Grissom HS is at (guess) 140% capacity, so a new SE HS should be considered, but there are not enough blacks living there or who can be zoned into it, so the school can't be built. That's idiocy.

Your analysis of demographic timing is on target, too. Older neighborhoods usually mean fewer kids. New developments usually mean more kids.

There is no choice unless you are covered under the deseg order or NCLB. There are private / church schools, which are booming (like $100 million in current construction for the top private / church schools - Randolph, Madison Academy, Catholic, Westminster).
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