Madison will not accept out-of-district students, for now - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Madison will not accept out-of-district students, for now

Dr. Dee Fowler Dr. Dee Fowler

As the state Supreme Court mulls the school flexibility bill, one school system says if you don't live here, your kids can't go to school here - at least for now.

The bill would give families a $3500 tax break to allow their kids to leave failing schools and enroll in a private school or another better public school, but some systems say they're not able to accommodate anyone new.

Madison City Schools Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler said the Madison school system's student population is growing enough as it is without taking in out-of-district students, and they have put in this stop-gap, short term measure until the legal dust clears.

"We've already started receiving requests from students from outside our district to come to Madison City Schools," he said.

Fowler said families want their kids to transfer to the Madison City School district for good reason. State GOP lawmakers labeled more than 200 Alabama schools as failing schools, but you won't find a single one of them in Madison.

With the school flexibility bill in flux, the Madison school board decided to put a hold on out-of-system students transferring to the district.

Fowler said the school system needs to take care of issues before they could even consider taking in students from beyond city limits.

"We're in the middle of a rezoning of our elementary schools. We want to rezone our schools, and then see where our space is, if any. Secondly, we want to look at all our demographic reports and our projections and see if we have space available," he said.

Another issue the Madison Board of Education is looking over: Would it be fair to allow students whose families don't pay the taxes that help fund schools here to be educated with the money raised by those who do?

"Madison City Schools was built by the citizens of Madison, and Madison City Schools rides on the back of the tax dollars of Madison. So, obviously, we would want the citizens of Madison to have a voice in this," said Fowler.

There are specific circumstances where Madison City Schools will take in out-of-system students: if they are the child of a school system employee, if they are from Triana, or if they are homeless.

The superintendent said this is a temporary measure, and they will revisit the issue once the Supreme Court decides on the school flexibility bill.

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