Huntsville City Schools Announce Rezoning Plans, Public Forums

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Huntsville Board of Education held a public work session on Thursday to discuss rezoning plans for city schools.

Dr. Casey Wardynski, Superintendent, presented the district’s rezoning plans to the public.  Wardynski’s presentation and graphs of the proposed rezoning plan can be viewed here on the school district’s website.

The Huntsville City School system is still operating under a federal desegregation order.  The plan presented Thursday, Dr. Wardynski says, ensures diversity and equality throughout the district.

“When we’re done, 27 percent of our students will be moving from obsolete or overcrowded schools into new facilities,” he said. “All of our students who attend high schools will be in new 21st century high schools.”

The plan is exhaustive, and the school system is still working to get it approved by the Department of Justice.  Meanwhile, there are separate negotiations about a D.O.J. plan, but those are confidential, Wardynski said.

Elementary Schools

Hereford Elementary will replace Terry Heights and University Place. McDonnell Elementary will close no later than 2015.  When that happens, it will begin to change zone lines for elementary schools.

Under the proposal, Jones Valley Elementary’s school zone will expand across Memorial Parkway, increasing diversity from about 4 percent diversity to 18 percent.

Students at retiring McDonnell Elementary will spread to Monte Sano, Blossomwood, Whitesburg, and Chaffee Elementary schools.

Middle Schools

Two middle schools will retire, Davis Hills and Ed White.  The new McNair Junior High will replace those.

Westlawn Middle School will welcome students from Morris and Ridgecrest Elementary schools.

Huntsville Middle’s zone will increase to accommodate student from Jones Valley and Blossomwood and the growth in those zones from the two elementary schools.

High Schools

The new Jemison High School will absorb students from Johnson and Butler, both of which are closing.  Dr. Wardynski says the move will stem the tide of transfers that have left the schools with faltering graduation rates.

“If we actually had a school today called Jemison with the kids from the Jemison zone, its graduation rate would be 78 percent with the unitary system, and we would be strengthening instead of hurting our communities by having kids move across town,” the superintendent said.

District leaders have scheduled forums on the following dates to hear comments and concerns from the public on the rezoning plan:

  • Thursday, January 30th – 5 p.m. at Lee High School
  • Friday, January 31st – 5 p.m. at Grissom High School
  • Saturday, February 1st – 9 a.m. at Huntsville High School
  • Monday, February 3rd – 5 p.m. at Johnson High School
  • Tuesday, February 4th – 5 p.m. at Butler High School
  • Wednesday, February 5th – 5 p.m. at Columbia High School

UPDATE: The dates and times have been updated in accordance with Huntsville City Schools’ latest schedule.

7 comments

  • Terri Rector Michal

    Thurs. Feb 3rd is Johnson, not Columbia. Oh, and one more important point I think you should not have left off…the superintendent is threatening to sue the DOJ if he doesn’t get his way. He has given the DOJ until the end of the month to make a decision on the newest plan. I wonder why none of our news channels sent their most seasoned reporters to cover such a major meeting. The mayor and the city council was there also. Y’all sure sent out your hard hitters on May 16th when they announced the filling of the papers to ask for unitary status to be lifted…just saying.

    • Claire Aiello

      Melody, we had an error on our list. We had one school listed twice. Johnson’s meeting is Monday, February 3rd at 5 p.m. Thank you for asking about this – the list is corrected now.

  • Carol Cotney

    Tough job. HSC are improving. Don’t like 88% graduation rate @ Grissom. Senior Summer School? People don’t want the Butler area students. Textile, soldiers, production, fast food, construction, retail, etc. employee kids. Large Hispanic student group. ~25 languages spoken in Madison County that includes the City of Huntsville. Got to compete as adults for jobs. The City of Huntsville need adult aged persons (FEMALES & MALES) to financially support themselves and accept the results of their actions. EEO for all regardless of high school, race, sex, sexual intercourse (parent, married), marital status, etc. in Huntsville…..

    Appears good. Hsv Times wants Blossomwood ES going to Lee which would make HHS more of a rich white kid school. Diversity comes in many forms including race. I can’t wait for MS & HS students to figure out that a free HS education is valuable completing it single WITHOUT kids……..

    Imagine a Huntsville where everyone can have and live a “Dream” even those with their acts together and invested the time for education, experience, etc……..

    City of Madison last year HS jr or sr produced an average 24 ACT from 90% of their students. Diversity.

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