Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools looks to address growing p - WSMV News 4

Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools looks to address growing pains

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The Clarksville-Montgomery County School System says Middle Tennessee’s growth is significantly impacting local infrastructure, including the schools themselves.

The school system will hold a meeting with parents this week to address these issues.

Nearly 1,100 students were added to the system this school year. That number is only going to go up, according to Elise Shelton, spokesperson for CMCSS.

Shelton said the northeast section of the county continues to see tremendous growth.

“When you see how many more lots are available to live on and build on in that same area, you have potential for about 6,000 houses up there,” Shelton said. “It’s exciting. But, it's also, where are we going to put all those students?"

Shelton knows growing pains are a given.

“Some people have asked, why don't you rezone? We have, but rezoning doesn't take care of the long-term problem,” Shelton said.

She wouldn't rule out the construction of new schools in the near future.

“We’re suggesting that we maybe expand our current buildings. That may hold us for about a year, maybe two. But beyond that, there's going to be a need for new facilities,” Shelton explained. “You can only put so many portables on a campus.”

At the Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council, executive director Cal Wray explained why this area continues to grow.

“Last year we added 13 people a day. This year we're on pace to add seven people a day,” Wray said. “You get a lot of the amenities that you can still take advantage of in Nashville, but you're still living here where there's a low cost of living.

“You’ve got one of the top school systems in the state. There's a reason we grew by nearly 2,000 students this year,” Wray added.

Wray believes everyone is still trying to play catch-up.

“I think that would be the one negative,” Wray said. “Can your tax base and your tax rates keep up with your growth, without overly burdening your citizens?"

Shelton encourages parents and citizens to come to this week's meeting with questions.

“It’s really going to be sticking to just the data and the facts of where we are right now and what we project for the next couple, three years,” Shelton said.

The meeting will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at the William O. Beech Civic Hall in Clarksville. All Montgomery County citizens are invited to attend.

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