Huntsville School District leaders and its critics optimistic about impending mediation

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – It didn’t turn out exactly how Huntsville City School leaders wanted, but the sentiment now is to make the most of it.

The school system is facing impending mediation with the Department of Justice on the ongoing school rezoning debate. Wednesday morning, the board held a special meeting to talk about the judge’s recent ruling. As it turns out, district leaders believe mediation may be better for the school system in the end, than a ruling in their favor.

“In our plan we were asking for student assignment zones and the judge has taken a longer view and said ultimately the role is to bring these systems to unitary status or local control,” said Superintendent Casey Wardynski. “The student assignment plans that brought us to this juncture are a part of that discussion but not the end of that discussion.”

Wardynski went on to say he believes for the past 50 years, the district has “meandered” toward the goal of unitary status, with no clear path in sight.

Now, court ordered mediation will force the DoJ and school system leaders to address the problems the district still faces, and define their goals.

Wardynski believes mediation could potentially expedite the process to gain unitary status.

Critics of the Huntsville City School district also came out in support of the judge’s ruling.

One of the most vocal opponents, Councilman Richard Showers, expressed hopefulness that the racial disparity in the city schools will finally be rectified.

“We have to begin with acknowledging we do have a problem, we can’t continue to hide the fact that there are differences in this community,” said Showers. “We have allowed a lot of time to pass without doing nothing. It’s about time we get some real opportunities to move forward, collectively and together.”

A date to begin mediation has not yet been set, but district leaders say it will begin “as soon as possible.”

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