HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Huntsville City Schools will hold a public meeting to discuss their latest efforts to implement its federal desegregation order and to earn unitary status. Recently, counsel for the district and counsel for the United States Department of Justice have completed a Joint Motion for Partial Unitary Status.
To help the community understand what this means, the district will make the Joint Motion, Joint Brief, and evidence available on its website: www.HuntsvilleCitySchools.org/consentorder. Additionally, the district will publish a summary and timeline of events.
On December 3, the district will hold a public meeting to hear from the community about the proposed Joint Motion. The timing of the meeting will be announced at a later date.
Transportation is one of seven Green Factors that Huntsville City Schools has to meet in order to earn unitary status.
In 2015, a consent order, developed cooperatively between Huntsville City Schools and the Department of Justice and approved by a federal judge provided a plan on achieving unitary status for the district.
This Joint Motion took a considerable amount of work from not only the attorneys in the case but also the district’s transportation and operations staff.
“We don’t take attendance on buses, so to try and come up with all that accurate information has taken some time,” said Elisa Ferrell
During the December 3rd meeting, the district will explain the transportation motion, and will let the public have an opportunity to ask questions and to comment on the proposed Joint Motion. The time and location of that meeting will be announced in the coming days.
“People can ask questions of the attorneys. Ask for details and then we send it to the judge,” said Ferrell.
Transportation is one of the seven Green Factors that the school district is working on with the DOJ with the goal of achieving unitary status. The judge does not have a specific timeline in which to rule on the motion. This process will have to be repeated for all Green Factors. Meaning the community will be able to ask questions for several years to come.
Regardless of how long the process takes, Huntsville City Schools says the time is necessary and worth it.
“We have to make sure we check all these boxes. That every child, regardless of the zip code they are born in, regardless of gender, race, and religion, anything. That they have the same access to high-quality education,” said Ferrell.
Alabama has more than 37 school districts operating under a desegregation order.