North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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April 22, 2013

Group proposing new Gardendale school system holds meeting tonight

GARDENDALE — A group which calls itself FOCUS: Future of Our Community Utilizing Schools will unveil and discuss the results of a city-commissioned study regarding Gardendale breaking away from the Jefferson County Schools system.

The meeting, which will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Gardendale Civic Center, is described as an informational meeting on the "Gardendale City Schools" Facebook group page.

The prospect of the city forming its own school system has been debated for more than a year, but was given new life when the City Council allocated $40,000 on a formal study of the proposal.

Supporters want to remove Gardendale High School and its feeder schools — Bragg Middle, Gardendale Elementary, Snow Rogers Elementary and Mt. Olive Elementary. The latter school poses a problem, as it is not located within the Gardendale city limits. To be included in the new system, Mt. Olive residents would have to be annexed into the city, or else their school would feed into Mortimer Jordan or Corner high schools instead.

A handful of metro Birmingham cities have broken off from their county systems to form their own districts. Trussville did so in 2005, and Alabaster withdrew from Shelby County schools last year. Tarrant has had its own system for decades.

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