Students write letter to Madison Co. commissioners asking for more school funding

JACKSON, Tenn. — Local students wrote a letter urging Madison County commissioners to spend more money on schools. The commission agreed to borrow $40 million in March, they said, setting aside $10 million for schools and $30 million for a jail expansion.

“We believe that the schools should get more money than the jail,” Alex Rosas, 9, read from the letter.

Three third grade students at Alexander Elementary School crafted a letter asking the Madison County Commission to give schools more money. Rosas helped write it.

“We wrote it because, like, they gave the jail $30 million and gave the schools $10 million,” Rosas said. “Where do they want you to end up? School or jail?”

In the letter, students touched on the need for things like textbooks, technology and repairs.

“A lot of schools have, like, diseases like asbestos,” Ricole Sanders, who helped write the letter, said.

“In Ms. Pittman’s room, there’s, like, different color water coming out of her sink,” Azuri Young, who helped write the letter, said.

Madison County Commissioner Doug Stephenson said they plan to put more than just $10 million in schools.

“It’s just a first step,” he said. “I don’t want the public to really think this is the end of all ends here. I mean, no, that’s not the case at all.”

Stephenson said the Madison County Jail is overcrowded. If they do not do something, he said the state will step in and it could cost taxpayers even more money.

“We don’t want to be mandated to do something,” Stephenson said. “We want to do it of our own validation and not someone making us do it.”

Rosas had this message for county leaders.

“Give us the money,” he said.

Madison County Commission Chairman Gary Deaton said, “We will be spending much more on the schools than the jail.”

Stephenson said how they spend the $40 million could change. He also said Madison County spends more than $9,600 on each student per year.

Stephenson said the county ranks first in spending for students in rural West Tennessee.

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