Madison County Schools, county commission clash over BRAC funding

Madison County Schools, county commission clash over BRAC funding

MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - There's a clash in opinions on what to do with more than $40 million in BRAC funding. The Madison County Board of Education and the Madison County Commission have different ideas on what to spend the cash on.

2013 is when the Madison County Commission signed an agreement with Madison County Schools to help get and release BRAC funding. They signed an agreement to build a new Monrovia High School. But fast forward five years and the two agencies have different ideas on what to do with that money. Until they agree, the money is untouchable.

"We're at the point where the board realizes that is not good for our school district," Madison County Schools Superintendent Matt Massey said.

School personnel say according to new research, a new school wouldn't be the best use of money. Massey has a capital plan breakdown. It's a long list of upgrades the Madison County BOE would like to see done in existing Madison County schools. The list includes things like crosswalks, security upgrades, and necessary roof repairs.

The hold up? That contract that was signed in 2013, saying they'd build a new school with the money.

"The board's made a decision with the direction they want the schools to go. We have an opportunity to enhance and upgrade some of our facilities and schools: safety upgrades, mechanical upgrades, a lot of the maintenance. We have 28 campuses and we have to take care of it," Massey said.

On Monday, a special meeting was called to work through the differences of the BOE and the Madison County commissioners. That's where the Madison County BOE offered to settle the situation with cash in order to move forward.

"The offer wasn't necessarily rejected, but it wasn't accepted. It looked like they were considering it," Massey said.

Massey hopes the next time they meet, the situation will be settled. Also mentioned at the Monday night meeting was the possibility of a half-cent sales tax to possibly help pay for a new Monrovia High School. After the meeting, Massey sent a statement to WAFF 48 News:

In response to Chairman Dale Strong's comments, Superintendent Matt Massey said today's meeting was not about raising taxes. The meeting today was to negotiate the school system out of a bad deal and assist the school system in moving toward making urgently needed capital improvements for the entire district. The Madison County School Board has made a fair and appropriate offer to settle this issue. It's our hope the Commission will accept this offer. Regardless of the outcome of this issue, Madison County Schools will continue to serve students and remain one of the top systems in the state.

Massey said the board doesn't want a tax increase. He said all they want is to get out of a deal that he says is bad for Madison County Schools.

WAFF 48 left a voicemail with Chairman Commissioner Dale Strong Tuesday morning in hopes of getting his take on the situation. He has not yet contacted us.

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