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.
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.
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.
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.