Gardendale considers creating their own school system - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Gardendale considers creating their own school system

Source: WBRC Source: WBRC

Gardendale City councilors approved a $50,000 study Monday night to research whether the city can support its own school system.

Momentum has been growing in the city to break away from the Jefferson County School System and this is the first step in what seems to be the very early stages of this process.

The study doesn't guarantee that Gardendale will break from Jefferson County, but it will show city leaders if the community has the financial power to sustain its own system.

Parents in the community have started a Facebook group discussing the idea of breaking away.

"It took 24 hours to get 500 members on that page," Tim Bagwell said.

Bagwell, has two children in Gardendale schools and is part of the grassroots effort to break away from Jefferson County.

"It's the concept of local control, the ability to have even higher standards than we already have," Bagwell said.

Jefferson County Superintendent Phil Hammonds says he respects the city's interest in starting its own district but also points out some of the necessary factors.

"You want to look at your revenues. Be sure your projections are such that there's growth not only to start a district but to sustain it," Hammonds said.

And as one Facebook user points out on the "Gardendale City Schools" group, that could be an issue for this community. Right now the city doesn't have a local property tax that could be a helpful source of revenue.

The city's mayor is counting on the study to show what it would take to fund a system.

"The feasibility study will show as far as funding and funding sources if there's enough to do our own school system. there's been no mention of a property tax," Mayor Othell Phillips said.

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