Reality Check: Daphne leaders defend $40,000 school study

(image: WPMI) Reality Check: Cost of Daphne School Study

Daphne taxpayers spent nearly $40,000 studying the possibility of forming a separate school system. Instead of splitting from the county, Monday night the city council ditched the idea, causing some to question whether finding the answer was worth the cost. NBC 15's Andrea Ramey investigated those concerns to find out if it was money well spent.

In Gulf Shores this year, parents packed council chambers and gave a standing ovation when the city decided to form its own school system. A stark contrast to to Daphne, where very few parents showed up to meetings expressing support.

Instead, many said the study was a waste. Overwhelmingly on the mayor's Facebook poll, people said don't spend any more of their money on it.

"This wasn't just two councilmen wanting to do this. There were parents, I had teachers coming to me. The Build Baldwin Now failed. The Mac Book fiasco. There were a lot of issues going on, and we were getting a lot of pressure to do something," said Councilman Robin LeJeune, who voted to continue on with the study.

LeJeune says Daphne's situation is much different from Gulf Shores because splittling off would have likely required Daphne parents, whose kids are zoned for Spanish Fort and Fairhope, to switch districts.

"They were out there a little more vocally saying this is a horrible idea," said LeJeune.

"I don't think that was a waste of taxpayer money," said Councilman Doug Goodlin.

Goodlin, who also teaches at Daphne, was the only other council member in favor of continuing the school split study.

"We learned a lot, and now we can go forward and figure out how we can make our schools better without a separate school system," said Goodlin.

Council members who favored phase one of the study but voted against the second phase said what changed their mind was the debt the city would've incurred.

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