Huntsville School Board Claims Commissioner Harrison Demanded Johnson Closure 8 Years Ago
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Earlier Monday, Huntsville City Schools’ Superintendent Casey Wardynski and School Board President David Blair announced they plan to request an audit of thousands of dollars awarded to two non-profit organizations County Commissioner Bob Harrison was involved with.
Later that day, the homepage of the Huntsville City School System had a prominently placed the statement, “Commissioner Bob Harrison Demanded Johnson High Be Closed in Exchange for His Vote.”
The statement claimed Blair had papers written in 2006 by County Commissioner Bob Harrison.
In the statement, Blair said, “These recently found documents shows County Commissioner Harrison demanding the closing of Johnson High School in return for voting yes on the ½ cent sales tax. Mr. Harrison’s strong arm tactics and glaring inconsistencies are disturbing.”
The papers linked on the school system’s website are a proposed agreement between the Madison County Commission and the Huntsville City School System and a letter from then Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Ann Roy Moore to Commissioner Bob Harrison.
The proposed agreement listed then Madison County Commission Chairman Mike Gillespie as the author, attested to by then county administrator Howard Baites.
The agreement would have closed Johnson High School and moved students to Butler and/or Lee, in addition to other stipulations.
The letter from then superintendent Moore to Harrison cited on the Huntsville City School website said, “I cannot recommend to the Board the agreement you suggest.”
Moore stated in the letter, “Bob, may I suggest that you just approve the tax. This is the best way to help the children of Huntsville, including your district.”
Commissioner Harrison told our news partners at The Huntsville Times and al.com Monday county attorneys wrote the proposed agreement, not him, and that he intended to replace Johnson with a new school that would be attractive to students all over Huntsville.