HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Huntsville City Schools' Desegregation Committee is assisting the district in implementing the federal consent order.
The Desegregation Advisory Committee, formed at the order of a Federal judge, is about to make some changes at the request of that same judge.
It's all about being more available to the parents they serve, as the impartial committee that formed to go between the public, court, Huntsville City Schools, and the Department of Justice.
The judge recently issued an amendment to the Consent Order that set forth the school system's path toward equality. In that amendment, she specifically added new requirements for the Desegregation Advisory Committee.
Now, they'll start to engage more with the public. They'll set up a website for themselves, interpret the complicated consent order in a version ordinary people will understand, and establish multiple methods of receiving public feedback. Those methods will be confidential, kept out of the hands of the school system.
"We're providing them an avenue so they don't feel like they have to fear retribution or backlash from telling us what's really going on," said Keith Poe, committee chair. "We want the raw, honest opinions so we know what we have to work with."
The email firstname.lastname@example.org is already an established email for feedback. They plan to add a dropbox at each school and post office box for additional comments.
The judge also added requirements about the selection of DAC members. There will be additional screening for potential conflicts of interest through the application process, and the judge will review those. Then, the judge will be the one who has the final say on the selection of committee members, who will become part of the official court record.
DAC members say for those currently on the committee, no conflicts were found.
They hope this brings the public more confidence in what they can do to assist. They tell us it's about being, and being perceived as, independent from Huntsville City Schools.
"We still have plenty of room as far as flexibility to dictate our own direction, but [the revision] did give us a little more guidelines so the people understand what we're really doing," said Poe.