Plan Unveiled to Bring Massive Changes to Montgomery Public Schools, Including Closing Some Schools

Interim state school Supt. Dr. Ed Richardson held a grim news conference this morning, outlining his plan to bring massive changes to Montgomery Public Schools. The changes are designed to fix the school system’s academic and financial problems. The school system is currently under state intervention.

To get the system’s finances back on track, Richardson plans to close Chisholm Elementary, Dozier Elementary, Floyd Elementary and Georgia Washington Middle School. In addition, Floyd Middle Magnet School would move to the now-vacant Houston Hill Middle School campus near Cramton Bowl that recently housed the LAMP Magnet School.

Richardson says those changes would bring $1.4 million in savings. Students would be moved to other schools, which he says would be able to make accommodations considering that the system lost 800 students last school year. Public hearings will be held to bring details to the parents and students affected by the changes, including new attendance zones. A schedule of those public hearings will be released next week.

Richardson says the Georgia Washington Middle School campus will be sold to the town of Pike Road, which is interested in turning it into a school for its school system. The sale price would be $9.75 million. In addition, Pike Road would pay MPS the $1.5 million that the state mistakenly sent to Pike Road when the money was intended to be sent to MPS. So the total transaction would amount to $11.25 million, which Richardson says would be paid in one installment.

In addition, 17 jobs will be cut at the central office for a savings of $1.1 million. Richardson has also cut the travel costs for the school board for another $51,000 in savings, he said.

Richardson says the nine central office buildings will be closed. He says he doesn’t yet have a savings figure for that change. Staff will be consolidated.

He says closed properties will be put up for sale.

As for academics, Richardson shared test scores that he says shows how much students in Montgomery Public Schools are struggling in the classroom. He says 15% of all of the schools deemed “failing” in the state are in MPS.

One example of low scores can be seen in ACT Aspire scores. Richardson says 27% of MPS students are shown to be proficient based on ACT Aspire results, which include students in the magnet programs. That compares to 41% statewide, which Richardson says is also a low figure.

But breaking down those numbers to individual schools shows that among 10th grade students in Montgomery’s non-traditial high schools, only 4.22% are proficient at math in Park Crossing High School. Other schools are lower, bottoming out at 1.12% for Lee High School in that category.

Richardson says principals and teachers will be evaluated on their performance. Those personnel who do not measure up will be removed from their positions.

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