HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Huntsville City School leaders are continuing their journey toward gaining unitary status, and being released from the federal desegregation order, as they finalize plans for new schools across the district.
Among the changes have come whispers that Butler High School may be closing for good, despite little direct acknowledgement from district leaders.
WHNT News 19 reached out to Superintendent Casey Wardysnki and board member Laurie McCaulley about why we haven’t heard much from the board about Butler, since they first announced the plan for $194 million in new and renovated schools.
he and board members say, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise if you’re paying attention.
“There are a lot of conversations being held across the school system, and a lot of it concerns District 1 high schools,” said McCaulley. “What we’re waiting on right now is final approval of some things.”
It was a vague answer at first, but according to McCaulley, if you read between the lines you’ll know what’s coming next.
“If you go back and look at the unopposed motion agreement between the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Huntsville CitySschools, there are some schools mentioned in there as a definite closing.”
Butler High School is not among the schools listed, however both of the school’s feeder schools are.
“If you don’t have any feeder schools, where will you get the kids,” McCaulley hinted.
Butler is fed by two schools: Westlawn and Ed White Middle schools. Ed White is scheduled to be closed within the year.
“Fifty percent of the kids at Butler come from Ed White, so they no longer will be feeding Butler,” explained McCaulley. “Go across to look at Westlawn, and where it’s projected to go, and that gives them a clear picture to what’s going on.”
Wardynski also insinuated the school could be seeing its last days. The redistricting and building plan calls for two new high schools, Grissom High School in the South, and the new Mae Jemison in the North, meant to replace Johnson High School.
“We’re building a new high school in the North that will accommodate 1,300 students, we’re building a new high school in the South that will accommodate around 1,800 students,” said Wardynski. “Grissom’s current enrollment is around 1,300 students. The high school we’re looking to replace has about 500 students.”
Wardynski continued, “So where will the extra students come from? You do the math.”
While the writing may well be on the walls, district leaders are still refraining from saying anything definitive.
“We’ve talked to all the responsible agencies, community leaders, and we have a good plan in place to make things better,” said Wardynski. “We’re getting pretty close to being able to talk about things, but I don’t want to talk just yet.”