Huntsville Superintendent questions charter school bill’s impact on consent orders


Dr. Casey Wardynski (WHNT News 19 file)

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)– Tuesday, a measure allowing charter schools in Alabama became the first bill to pass the state Senate this year.

The vote happened around 8 p.m. in Montgomery and took around four hours to debate.

Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Casey Wardynski commented at Tuesday night’s board work session that he’s concerned the measure, if passed, would affect the district’s consent order.

“This system in particular is working to meet its particular obligations and provide an equitable education for every child,” he said. “If a charter could come in, they would be specifically empowered to do things that run opposite our consent decree.”

Dr. Wardynski breaks it down like this: the consent decree outlines how Huntsville City Schools will distribute educational opportunities, including magnet themes and feeder patterns. If another entity began pulling students away, while seemingly operating with support from the board, Wardynski says it may interrupt how the consent order plays out.

“All our schools, they’re entering into an agreement with the U.S. government which would go before a federal court to validate the agreement,” he said. “[It] says we’re going to do certain things.  And along comes a [charter school] who gets money from the local school board and the state but doesn’t have to abide by any of the things we just agreed to. The court will look at that and probably think, ‘What is this?'”

At a hearing later this week, school leaders and the Department of Justice will meet before a US District Judge to request approval for the agreed-upon consent order.  Read our LIVE BLOG of the proceedings.

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