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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Huntsville’s City Council and Huntsville City Schools Board of Education met for a rare joint session Friday inside the Huntsville-Madison Chamber of Commerce building to preview upcoming changes to the city’s district lines.

The meeting included a statement of optimism from Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Christie Finley on the new school year.

She also touched on the need to follow its policy of all students and staff masking up when school starts on August 4.

“We’ll mask up,” Finley said. “And you know, we can still do all the things to make sure our students can have that in-person learning. That’s the main focus, is that health and safety piece of it. We hope we can get through this hurdle and we can have that normalcy back. But the main focus right now is that in-person learning.”

Connie Graham, who oversees the redistricting team for the city, said not only do they expect massive population growth in each city district, but also more diversity for Huntsville as a whole.

“Our District 5 out west has the largest population growth between 2010 and 2020 census,” Graham said. “Our goal here is to have an equal amount of population in each district. So we’ll have to take some of the people in that district out and share or move those lines over.”

Graham said they’ll interpret data from the census and propose changes to the district lines as needed.

That will impact city council and school board elections.

Graham’s team will then hold public hearings before the final plans are submitted.

Those dates are October 19 at 4 p.m., October 25 at 5:30 p.m., November 9 at 1:30 p.m., November 16 at 4 p.m., and November 22 at 5:30 p.m. which is the deadline for public plan submissions and comments.

On December 2, redistricting plans will be introduced by ordinance.

On December 16, Huntsville City Council will adopt a plan for the next decade to follow.