Northport City Council looking into forming city school system

Cities around Central Alabama are looking to break away from county school systems. Alabaster was one of the first. Monday night, Pelham and Northport are taking steps toward offering home-grown education.

The Northport City Council approved opening bids on doing a feasibility study for a city school system. There are at least 10 schools in Northport. City leaders have talked about doing this study for a couple pf months now to see if it would make sense to break away from Tuscaloosa County Schools.

"That's a big step for any community, particularly the city of Northport." The city of Northport has taken the first step in looking at forming it's own school system. City Administrator, Scott Collins, says "We think in order for our community to grow, we need to give our community at least the opportunity to hear the benefits that a school system may bring or some obstacles it may bring."

The city council wants to do a feasibility study to see if forming a school system is possible, like the city of Pelham just did. Collins says the largest concentration of school students in the Tuscaloosa County School system live in Northport. "Our interest is not just having a school system for the sake of having a school system, the interest is first and foremost education for the child."

Collins says there have been mixed reviews from parents because there is a lot unknown right now. But some parents and residents we spoke with are in favor it. Parent Cherri Collins says, "I think it would be wonderful, why not?

Northport resident, Mimi Berry, had this to say, "I think it would be a great idea to have a school system, why not? All surrounding counties have what they have, why can't we have it in Northport?

Collins says there will most likely be public hearings on the issue.

The City of Pelham held it's second public hearing Monday evening. The city recently completed a feasibility study on forming the new system. Council members brought up some of the highlights of that study Monday night including the location and condition of Shelby County Schools in the Pelham area.

It says those factors are having an economic impact on Pelham because the schools are leading some people to bypass Pelham to move into other nearby communities.