PIKE ROAD, Ala. (WSFA) – The Pike Road School Board voted unanimously on a measure to allow students who live on base at Maxwell Air Force Base and Gunter Annex the opportunity to attend their school district.
Pike Road joins Elmore and Autauga County Schools who also offer this option.
Maxwell Air Force Base offers school for on-base students through the eighth grade. Generally they would be zoned for Montgomery Public Schools, but now they have another local choice by way of a hardship clause.
“Working together for Autauga County, Elmore County and Montgomery County to make sure we offer a full array of choices to those military members is important,”stated Pike Road Superintendent Dr. Charles Ledbetter. “For the good of our region we wanted to make sure we were a part of that.”
Pike Road will offer classes through 12th grade starting this fall, graduating its first senior class in 2020, which is key in this situation.
“General Cotton began this as an initiative, really a year ago, pushing to bring us together,” Ledbetter explained. “We appreciate his leadership in forging partnerships with our community and bringing school systems together.”
More than 160 military students live in Pike Road and attend their schools. Ledbetter isn’t anticipating a major shift in numbers with this new option.
“We talked with the folks at Maxwell about all the things they face,” he said. “They have so many military coming in and out going to Air University, they aren’t here for long stints, sometimes only a year. We are familiar with our military families, they are wonderful support and they care about education.”
Ledbetter assures local taxpayers who support the school district that this open enrollment won’t impact funding.
“The military has federal impact aid that we can get in lieu of taxes, so our taxpayers are held harmless and we have the ability to take care of those students,” Ledbetter explained, stating the funding is based off the percentage of on-base students who attend the district.
Town of Pike Road Mayor Gordon Stone praised the school board’s decision to offer this enrollment option.
“Active military and veterans make up an important part of the Town of Pike Road’s diverse population,” said Stone. “We are proud to be able to show our support for those who sacrifice so much for our nation. We are especially pleased to assist those who study, work, and live on Maxwell Air Force Base. This decision to welcome them to our schools marks another exciting milestone for the growing Pike Road Schools System, which will also welcome its first graduating class this fall.”