Some Ministers Ask Church Members To Skip Service, Come to School Zoning Meeting Instead

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)– Some African-American church leaders in Huntsville asked Wednesday night church attendees to skip services, and go to a meeting about the Huntsville City Schools’ rezoning plan instead.

More than a thousand people showed up at First Missionary Baptist Church for the meeting forcing church volunteers to open up overflow rooms for the large crowd.

Church leaders say they are against the city schools district’s proposed zoning changes being challenged in U.S. District Court right now.

Last month nine church leaders signed a letter criticizing the Huntsville City School Board’s rezoning plan. Madison County Commission member Bob Harrison, Huntsville City Councilman Will Culver, State Representative Laura Hall and Huntsville-Madison County NAACP President Alice Sams also signed that same letter.

The letter was read out loud by Reverend Julius Scruggs. Sitting in the front pew the entire Huntsville City School Board, Superintendent Casey Wardynski and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.

Harrison, Hall and Huntsville City Councilman Richard Showers have also hosted several “community zoning concern” meetings in the past several weeks. They claim the district did not include the African-American community when drawing up the new zoning lines that have been proposed.

The district’s building plan would replace aging schools with 21st century facilities. Huntsville Schools Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski also implemented a new process for hiring teachers that places the strongest teachers in schools where they are needed most.

WATCH: Casey Wardynski talks about why the city opposes the DOJ’s plan.

Church leaders say the hope the judge who will ultimately decide which plan will be enacted in the future is listening to their concerns and will choose the DOJ plan.