Parents considering private education as alternative to city schools

Published: Apr. 22, 2011 at 10:36 PM CDT|Updated: May. 20, 2011 at 7:53 PM CDT
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Huntsville school leaders announced nearly 500 layoffs of teachers and support employees at Thursday's school board meeting. This latest round of cuts could be the final straw for some Huntsville parents.

Right now many parents are considering other options, like moving into another school system, home schooling, and private schools.

Dozens of comments on WAFF 48's Facebook page all have a similar theme, worry about the state of Huntsville city schools and its seemingly insurmountable $20 million debt.

"I moved to private last year with no regrets," one woman wrote.

"Home school or private is in our future for sure," wrote another.

The uncertainty over Huntsville's public schools could send many parents and their children to private schools like the Montessori School of Huntsville.

Soozi Pline, head of the Pre-K through 6th grade school, said people who have relocated to the area because of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), for example, have often done their homework and already know all about the school and its unique teaching methods.

"We have people that come here from all over the country, that are, they're moving in because of the arsenal, or they're moving here because of the academic programs here and a lot of them already know about a Montessori program," she said.

Pline said the student to teacher ratio is very important to the school. It's also attractive to many parents in the wake of educator cuts in the public school system.

"We keep the population at one to ten for preschool. One to six for the toddler program," Pline said. "In the elementary, it's one to 12, and so really good ratios."

The problem is not everyone can afford a private school education or to move to another district, but city leaders stress there is light at the end of the tunnel if parents are patient.

Copyright 2011 WAFF. All rights reserved.