Huntsville City School board votes to split P-8 schools

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Huntsville City Schools Board of Education met Tuesday for a special sessionĀ  where the board voted unanimously to approve a plan to split its Pre-K through 8th grade combined schools into two.

The superintendent recommended approval of the plan, which revisits the P-8 model the district sees at several schools including Whitesburg, Mountain Gap, Morris, and Chapman schools. The split only affects schools that are currently using a P-8 model. Those are the Academy for Academics and Arts, the Academy for Science and Foreign Language, Chapman, Mountain Gap, Morris, and Whitesburg schools. No changes to feeder patterns, and only minimal changes were already approved to the consent order the district has with plaintiffs in a decades-old desegregation case with a federal court.

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Board members said the plan would be to keep the schools within their same buildings, but just create two separate elementary and middle schools on the campus.

In 2011, the board then approved combining Whitesburg, Mountain Gap, and Chapman as part of then-superintendent Casey Wardynski's capital plan. Some said it saved the district from being forced to close smaller schools. You can read more through an archived story from our news partner, The Huntsville Times/Al.com here.

But now, many of those schools have grown. Leaders believe they may be able to get more funding from the state if they reverse the decision, saving on local funding that pays many salaries for administration and staff members.

This comes as the district seeks to recover from a multi-million dollar accounting error discovered last year and save on costs.

District attorneys said the Majority to Minority transfers will be considered using a campus-wide approach so students don't need to continue to reapply. They also said magnet schools will use the same approach so changes don't need to be made to the application process between elementary and middle schools.

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