On Monday, WAAY 31 boarded a bus with Madison City Schools Superintendent Robby Parker as he showed the school board developments along Madison and Triana that will directly impact his schools. It's the reason why he's asking for a tax increase.
The tour started on Celtic Drive and traveled along all the areas in the district. On the route, you could see houses already being built and land set aside to build new homes, which all will bring in more children to the overcrowded schools in Madison.
This is a lot different from when Robby Parker started teaching in Madison 31 years ago. He said the city only had 400 high schoolers. Now, that number is about 4,000.
This is all thanks to the city's growth in recent years, which Parker says is good for many reasons.
"With that growth has come tremendous opportunity," Parker said.
The growth has also caused overcrowding at many Madison City Schools.
Parker hoped by taking board members on a bus tour, they'd see the growth first-hand and be on board a plan to raise property taxes. The 12 mill tax will fund two new schools.
"We have to have an additional revenue source with the explosive growth that we have," Parker said.
He said the schools have already started to see the negative impacts of overcrowding, including having the fifth worst class size in the state of Alabama.
Parker said some schools are using makeshift classrooms to fit everyone in.
"We're taking teacher work rooms and making them classrooms. That is impactful. Teachers don't have collaborative work spaces where they can be and they can do work," he said.
Parker said if the tax proposal doesn't get approved, the quality of education will suffer.
"We're not going to be able to offer the same world-class education that we've been offering for 20 years if we don't have places to put children," he said.
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