The Huntsville Committee of 100 believes the #1 economic development issue in our community today is the quality of public education. The Huntsville area has enjoyed rapid job growth and prosperity in this community primarily due to the outstanding reputation of our three public school systems.
For decades, our school systems have been the crown jewel in North Alabama, setting new standards for excellence in education. They offer enrichment programs including more foreign languages and arts classes, smaller class sizes than most other Alabama schools, and fund several hundred additional teachers for those classes.
The financial picture has now changed. Due to our school systems losing millions of dollars over the past several years with the new equity funding program, they have been unable to fund much-needed improvements to our facilities, teacher training programs and new technology, and the academic test scores in many of our schools are unacceptable.
It is essential to Huntsville and Madison County’s continued jobs growth and quality of life that new funding is found to support capital improvements and new schools, expanded professional development for teachers and principals, and enhanced curriculums, especially in math and science, that will better prepare our workforce of the future.
The Committee of 100’s members are actively engaged in public school issues and regularly attend school board meetings across the three systems. During the recent leadership and financial crisis in Huntsville City Schools, our members worked diligently with other community and civic groups to help identify solutions and alleviate the fiscal and academic problems.
Major accomplishments related to education:
- Public Education – Funded academic/leadership programs for high-risk youth, 2000 Huntsville City Schools Strategic Plan, property tax referendums supporting school systems in Huntsville and Madison County, development of a marketing program in Huntsville City Schools, and a professional development workshop for teachers; Lobbied for a countywide sales tax increase for public education; Lobbied for a consolidation plan for Huntsville City Schools; Worked with other civic leaders to support Huntsville City Schools’ recent budget cuts and academic improvements and leadership transition.
- Technical Education – Funded development of a Technical Education Plan by PARCA to improve K-12 programs that support four critical workforce needs – advanced manufacturing, construction, healthcare and hospitality; Implementation has included a trip for educators and business leaders to a Construction Academy in Chattanooga, development of construction courses in all three school systems and planned academies in other curriculums; Funded professional development; Supported the development of career academies in all three school systems.
- Organized and provided major funding for new 7th Grade Career Day program through Jr. Achievement.
- Partnered with Chamber to form Business/Education Coalition to promote sharing of ideas, strategies, support for all three public school systems.
- Developed partnerships/provided financial support to The Schools Foundation & Leadership Huntsville-Madison County.
- Brought in speakers of interest on public education topics and invited community and elected leaders.
Major current projects related to education:
- Continue efforts to improve technical education and workforce readiness through full implementation of the 2009 Technical Education Plan.
- Sponsor with Junior Achievement a 7th Grade Career Day program in all three public school systems.
- Development of a plan to address quality improvement and long-term funding of local public education.
- Support curriculum enhancements in local schools to improve workforce readiness, including full implementation of the Alabama Reading Initiative and Alabama Math, Science & Technology Initiative.