Re-zoning: Huntsville City Schools, DOJ to mediation - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Huntsville City Schools ordered to mediate with DOJ over re-zoning

The city school system and the Department of Justice must discuss potential revisions to their re-zoning plans. (Source: WAFF file) The city school system and the Department of Justice must discuss potential revisions to their re-zoning plans. (Source: WAFF file)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

A federal judge made a ruling regarding the battle to re-zone Huntsville City Schools.

Late Monday night, Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala appointed Chief Magistrate Judge John Ott to be a mediator between the city school district and the Department of Justice. Both entities have filed two different assignment plans for federal approval.

"The Court cannot make a final decision regarding the student assignment plans that the parties have proposed until the Court has more information about inequities in the district's educational programs," the ruling stated. "To resolve the issue, the Court will need to gather more information from the district, and the Court will give the parties an opportunity to brief the issue."

Read this document in full (PDF).

Magistrate Judge Harwell Davis has been appointed to work with both sides to oversee data gathering.

In a second document (PDF), Judge Haikala also ordered the school board to remove PowerPoint presentations and charts from its website that state or suggest the DOJ's plan contains numerous feeder pattern splits. The board must also remove slides that suggest its faculty assignments meet unitary status.

During mediation, both sides must discuss potential revisions to their plans, including proposals for improving the education programs in the predominantly African-American schools.

"Because time is of the essence," the order stated, "with the parties' cooperation, by the end of the calendar year, the Court will endeavor to enter orders resolving the issue of school assignment and setting a unitary status timeline."

The school board is allowed to proceed with its construction plans at this time, according to the documents.

Copyright 2014 WAFF. All rights reserved. 

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