Citizens Take School District Rezoning Plan Frustrations To City Council

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – ¬†Frustration and anger about the Huntsville City School’s rezoning plan has yet to die down.

After feeling like their concerns were falling on deaf ears at school board meetings, Huntsville citizens took their concerns to City Council on Thursday.

Only a few residents stood up to voice their opinions, but the crowd nodded in agreement as they directed their anger toward Superintendent Wardynski and the school board.

“Tell me in this day and time when you pay taxes, you cannot give your input and you cannot ask questions? Decisions are being made without the public being involved,” voiced one citizen. “When is north Huntsville going to be allowed to have input with anything dealing with Huntsville city Schools? When are the city council and the mayor going to speak up?”

The take away message was several citizens believe they have not had the opportunity to be heard by the board or Wardynski.

Councilman Richard Showers also expressed anger at the superintendent, calling him “intimidating” and “disrespectful.”

Showers then called for drastic measures to get the school board’s attention.

“Unless this school board and its superintendent exhibit a more transparent form of government, respect its citizens and their right to attend and speak out at board meetings, respect, communicate and work with all elected officials, it would be my recommendation that all funds allocated to the Huntsville school system be withheld,” said Showers.

Councilman John Olshefski says he understands the public’s concerns, but defended the board and the superintendent.

“I can’t fix some of the stuff you’re asking me to fix, but I have looked at numbers,” said Olshefksi. “The numbers are way better today than they were two and a half years ago. This is about the students!”

Other council members promised to take the public’s concerns to Wardynski and the school board, but their promises were met with scoffs from several people in the crowd.

17 comments

  • Regina

    I am a J. O. Johnson Alumnus and a native of Huntsville and although I have lived in Atlanta, GA for the past 7 years I still think of Huntsville as home and it saddens me every time I come to visit to see what had been done to North Huntsville. All the low-income housing and loss of business is sad and now they are “re-zoning” the schools so that they can strip even more of our pride and individuality away. This is not about the students, this is about men of power making decisions that are disrespectful and dismissive to people they think are inconsequential. The people of North Huntsville have got to fight this or they may as well lie down and let them bulldoze the whole community!!

    • Mike

      By the way Regina, the only people responsible for running down North Huntsville are the ones living there. Gangs, drugs, 70% children born to unwed parents are things you should be worrying about!!!!

    • Daryal Pinchon

      What is happening in North Huntsville is the fault of 80% of the community!! The loss of business is due to all the shootings, drug deals, and the HIGH CRIME RATE!!!!! Rezoning is not stripping the pride from the community! There is hardly any pride there!! IE Crime Rate, almost all areas are run down to many people on corners selling drugs or hanging out at the stores selling drugs like the Jet Pep and Chevron on University Dr. The store at Mastin Lake and Pulaski, Blue Springs and Winchester etc etc! Again the residents let it get like that. You need to walk thru the halls of Johnson or sub a week then tell me how much you see the kids wanting to learn!!!!

  • Mike

    North Huntsville has been treated so poorly by the school district? I guess having two NEW High Schools being built in a five year period is just down right disrespectful (sarcasm intended). Give me a break! I’m so sorry that your consistently poor preforming high school is being closed down and a brand new one is being built, named after a black female astronaut. You would think that the Liberals would be happy checking off all those boxes, female and a minority. Let’s just be honest that North Huntsville is just mad because their black female superintendent was sent packing. She did nothing in her ten years and everyone knows that! Dr. Wardynsky has done more in his short time here to fix our schools and bring them into the 21st Century than she could ever hope to. Good job Sir, and keep up all of the good work!

  • Mrs. Pope

    The fact of the matter is the whole idea is a set-up for failure. Those of us that have lived and grew up on the north side understand this first hand. We are not on the outside looking in making decisions. We are standing against what we know is not a good idea for our children. It is not just about a name and a new school. Do we need the new school, yes. But, changing the name has nothing to do with providing us with a new learning facility. You are getting rid of a vital piece of history! One for which I stand proud of. I am an alumnus, and I am successful, and I received more than education from my experiences in the halls of J.O.J.! We were taught to help one another, stand up for one another, respect ourselves, and to value not only who you were but, where you were going in life. These vital life keys wouldn’t have necessarily been imparted with such passion anywhere else. Also, combining the schools, is only adding fuel to a fire. You will see problems such as drop outs, under age pregnancy, violence and more. This is not a thought; but, a reality, and something that needs to be drastically considered before the wrong decision is made!

    • Mike

      There’s your problem. Schools are there to educate, parents and family are there to provide values to their children. You write like a true liberal. Have the government raise your child. How’s that working for North Huntsville?

  • Wes

    Showers and Harrison are Huntsville’s version of Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton. Never miss an opportunity to turn a great turn around of the school district that they wanted to keep the same as it’s always been mastered by Dr Wardynski into a race baiting event! Showers should have resigned after allowing family members to get gasoline from the city pumps during the 2010 tornado. Real character displayed by these two individuals!

  • Daryal Pinchon

    Mrs. Pope you see drop outs and pregnancy now.

    The North schools are the ones failing! Everyone who complains about the North schools like Butler, Johnson, Ed White, Davis Hills etc go sub for a week then you will see why those schools fail!!!!!!! It’s the kids,their parents non involvement, etc not the teachers, principal or Dr.W.!! STOP CRYING and get active in controlling all the drugs,shootings and crime that occurs in North Huntsville and that could possibly be a beginning in turning a failing school into a non failing school.

  • Sam Little

    I live on the North side of Huntsville and I am white. My children attend University Place Elementary and it is a very good school. The teachers and staff work very hard in training their students to become responsible, hard-working citizens. Some of the students do have a hard time because of their home situation. I believe the DOJ’s plan will help the Huntsville City schools greatly. The superintendent’s plan is very wrong. I can only hope that the Federal judge who hears this case agrees with the DOJ’s plan. I have worked for the Federal Government in DOD for 31 years and the DOJ’s plan is a good plan and will benefit ALL students. Councilman Showers is correct. The superintendent does not want to hear people who do not agree with his plan. He is very disrespecful.

  • Daryal Pinchon

    @ Sam you are full of crap and probably not black! If you worked for the Govt. for 31 years you have made really good money and would not have your kids in a failing school! You would either have them In Randolph,Madison Academy etc or you would move to a better side of town!

  • Daryal Pinchon

    @ Sam I think you are white and full of it!! If you have worked for the Government for 31 years your kids would be in a private school or you would have moved from the crime ridden area of North Huntsville so your kids and your family would be a little safer due to the crime and all the recent shootings!!

    • Sam Little

      Nope, I am white and my children did go to a private school the last two years. I liked the private school, however, they had some problems with their sports program and my son loves sports. My husband and I made the decision to put them in public school this year and they love it. I do agree with you that North Huntsville (some parts) have had a lot of crime, however, our neighborhood is not so bad and we love our home. We have excellent neighbors. My neighbors’ children graduated from a different Private school and they have not done well at college. One of them dropped out and the other is struggling. I have spoken with others and for the money you have to pay, I am not sure the quality of education is worth it. I have done my research. My husband and I have talked about moving, however, all of the houses that we looked at on the South end of town were horrible and needed tons of work. Also, I help my parents and my husband helps his parents and they both live on the North side of town. Bottom Line — I shouldn’t have to move for my children to get a good education.

  • jamison jones

    Lets get something straight here. Education, at all levels begins at home. what parents put in their childrens heads at a very young age determines how they fit in society against any biases taught by their parents. Now, as a nation, we’ve come along way in making what our society is today. unfortunately, theere are some people who have lost touch with the ‘struggle.’ America today is way different than it was 50 years ago. Wardynski or wwhatever his name is, has roots from eastern europe. He, of all people should know better what his policies would do to a community like huntsville. I don’t care if white folk don’t like black folk, i mean the opposite is quite true as well. Thing is, this is about kids..i mean about kids. We don’t want to teach hate, under any disguise.

  • Daryal Pinchon

    @ Jamison Jones, It is about the kids. They are getting a NEW school instead of that run down building Johnson is currently in! The teachers in the North schools have the same degree as the teachers in the passing schools. The reason the schools fail is the kids. They choose not to learn! as a black man I have seen it all. We (blacks) gripe about EVERYTHING except for what we really need to gripe about in North Huntsville, Crime!!!!! Theft,shootings,robberies,drug sales, moms with 2-3 kids with different men,many who refuse to better themselves but continue to get welfare and complain. Too many can take advantage of pell grants student loans etc but most refuse. Our young folks would rather learn about the newest rapper than about Rosa Parks. We have rappers dissing early blacks who fought the struggle. We have young men who would rather live the thug life then get educated! Again Dr. W. and the school board are doing nothing wrong. IT’S OUR OWN KIND WITH THE PROBLEMS!

  • jamison jones

    Daryal, i agree. We are our own worst enemy but so goes for the white kids too. Do you honestly think that they don’t have problems? I mean, look at all the school shootings, it ain’t black folk doing all ‘o that. Look at the meth epidemic..this ain’t our crisis. Now, what i’m talking about is life in contemporary america as we see it today. We don’t need the likes of wardysnki turning us back to the 50’s in disguise. besides, don’t you think alot of these white girls lately have multiple babies by different men? Look harder, brother./

  • Ann

    Why are people so rude in their comments. I have taught in countries outside of the US and one thing is missing,parent involvement. North Huntsville didn’t change overnight,it’s going to take volunteers,parents, retired teachers and the entire community. Everyone has to put their pride away, come together for the sake of the children.
    If you don’t live on the north side,you should still care. Failure to deal with this issue will see all of Huntsville affected.

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