Huntsville City Schools Working On New Rezoning Plan


Huntsville Board of Education (file)

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - For more than two decades, Huntsville City School leaders have avoided rezoning. But now, redrawing zones could be weeks, not months away from becoming a reality.

Details about the proposal are not being released until they can be reviewed at the federal level, but school officials say some students will be forced to switch schools.  In addition, some schools will close.

The paperwork already sits on desks of attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The plan is tentative, as objections based on desegregation concerns could change the proposal.

Two years ago, when current superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski was hired by the district, the school board made a point of asking him to end the 43-year-old court order to desegregate city schools. Rezoning is a small part of the plan to do just that.

Unitary status would make it official, meaning federal courts agree Huntsville no longer shows signs of the old dual system.

Superintendent Wardysnki said while trying to make better use of existing classrooms, he has been searching for small ways to better balance the racial composition within the schools. Last week, he talked about a few elements of a plan that touches just about every corner of the city.

Our news partners The Huntsville Times/ reported Blossomwood's zone would be stretched west of Memorial Parkway, picking up more public housing to replace the torn-down Councill Courts.

Whitesburg Elementary and Middle could see a zone that pushes further into southwest Huntsville, increasing diversity at the new Grissom High. Huntsville High's zone could also push west, maybe meeting the Columbia High line somewhere in the old mill neighborhoods in west Huntsville.

Wardynski surprised many when he kept Butler High School open, but soon there will be new high school buildings on all sides. Butler is a smaller school as one of the older buildings in the system making it a likely target for closing in the future as new high schools come on-line.

(Our news partners at Huntsville Times contributed to this report)