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CORDOVA, Ala. (WIAT) — Some parents in Cordova are raising concerns about the Walker County Board of Education’s recent proposal to combine Cordova Elementary School and Bankhead Middle School.
The elementary school was set to be rebuilt, but now parents said this new plan is an easy fix to save money.
“To me, it feels like a band aid on a broken bone,” Scott Murphy said.
Murphy’s kids attend both schools. He said he was upset when he got wind of the changes.
“Within the last two weeks it’s been made a little more public,” Murphy said. “But before that, it was super hush-hush.”
According to Cordova Mayor Jeremy Pate, Cordova Elementary School was approved for a new school building in the board of education’s capital plan back in 2019. Now, the school board is proposing a new plan.
“They’ve been waiting for 10 years, and now they’ve come up with a plan that’s not a new school,” Pate said. “It’s just adding their school on to a 40-year-old building.”
Pate said Cordova was originally set to get $25 million for a new school, but now the board of education is proposing $15 million to $20 million to add on to Bankhead Middle School and combining the two schools and then using $35 million to build a new Dora High School.
“Dora was built in 1969. It is my understanding that they’re not overpopulated to the point where they would go ahead of Cordova Elementary,” Pate said. “So yes, Cordova is scheduled to be next.”
The current elementary school building is 70 years old.
“The Bankhead campus — the footprint is tiny compared to some of the other school buildings in the area,” Murphy said. “There’s going to be no room for growth at all.”
And with new growth in the city, the community has been looking forward to getting a new one.
“If you build a neighborhood and you get an influx of 125 kids and you already got 362, are you going to be able to handle these children with this, or are you going to be overgrown before you move in?” Pate said.
Pate said the city has worked to secure land for a new school off I-22 in hopes of generating revenue and new business opportunities in the city.
“Two cents of every dollar that’s spent goes right back into the board of education,” Pate said. “So the school would overtime pay for itself by economic development that it’s going to generate on that exit.”
He said he’s disappointed with this new proposal.
“This is a 75-year-old plan that we’re going to have to life with for the rest of our lives and most of our grandkids’ lives,” Pate said.
INTERNEWSCAST reached out to the board of education for comment. It declined an interview, stating this is still in the preliminary stages.
Pate said the plan is set to be discussed again at the board of education’s next meeting Oct. 12.