As Lagniappe reported yesterday, there have been ongoing talks among Mobile city officials about studying the establishment of the city’s own school system, and on Wednesday, City Councilman Joel Daves told his constituents he’s supportive of the idea.
In a message to District 5 residents, Daves acknowledged reports the city is mulling what a withdrawal from the Mobile County Public School System (MCPSS) might look like but said any decision should start with a feasibility study or an independent third-party analysis.
On Tuesday, Mayor Sandy Stimpson confirmed an interest in conducting such a study, though MCPSS Superintendent Martha Peek said her office had been struggling to get any official confirmation from his. Despite that, MCPSS has been gathering data on school performance and has already published a pamphlet suggesting students would be better served if the “city and county work together.”
You can read Daves’ statement below:
“Many local municipalities have considered withdrawing from county school systems. Some have done so, some have not, but the place you start is with a feasibility study or analysis conducted by an independent third party firm.
There has been some talk of such a study being commissioned by a non-profit entity.
Here is where I am on this. We cannot be complacent about public education. We ought to periodically examine whether our students are getting the best possible public education we can provide for three reasons. First, we owe it to our children.
What should be uppermost in everyone’s mind in this discussion is what is best for the children. Second, rightly or wrongly the reason stated by parents moving out of the City of Mobile to other nearby municipalities is often public education.
There is a perception that the public education provided in neighboring municipalities is superior to that obtainable in the Mobile County Public School System (MCPSS). Third, if we are going to continue to attract global companies to Mobile we must provide a first-class public school system.
The Mayor and I recently met with diplomatic representatives from the European Union countries here in Mobile. They were unanimous in saying that a quality public school system is an important factor in their domestic companies’ decisions on where in the U. S. to locate.
So, I support a feasibility study or analysis if conducted by an independent party supported by private resources. Such a study may convince us to remain in the MCPSS or it may convince us to leave. We can’t make that decision without data. I think it is wrong to argue that we shouldn’t even consider the idea.
Assuming such a study is undertaken, I would support breaking with the MCPSS and establishing a City school system only if was financially practicable and it was more likely than not that the quality of the education provided to the students would improve.
I welcome any comments you may have on this matter.”