Photo by Jessa Pease.
Parents raise concerns with possible rezoning
Seats could not hold the amount of parents who showed up for public participation at the Hoover Board of Education meeting Aug. 4.
Talk of the possible rezoning in Hoover City Schools sent the meeting room abuzz during the Hoover Board of Education meeting Aug. 4.
A short agenda did not keep the meeting room from filling with concerned parents eager to address the board during the public forum. Although no proposal for rezoning has been publicly announced, there were not enough seats to hold the number of people the issue attracted to the meeting.
“I think it’s terrible,” said one Bluff Park resident. “Bluff Park is a community. We all live there, and I want my kids to go to school there. We go to church there. It’s crazy.”
Many residents said they moved to Bluff Park and other affected areas specifically for a particular public school, and they have concerns with longer transit times. Some changes could move children 30 or 45 minutes away from their homes, they said.
Parents also stated that Bluff Park has higher performing schools than other zones to which they might be moved. Deer Valley and Riverchase were mentioned as some of the highest-ranking elementary schools for parents doing research online. Craig said there is nothing on about high schools in the proposals currently.
No proposals have yet been decided, but Superintendent Andy Craig said he has met with many parents and hopes to have a proposal developed for the board in the next couple of weeks.
According to Craig, the proposal would have a feedback period where the board would listen to the comments of parents and residents. It will be targeted toward elementary schools in the area and would affect the 2015-2016 school year.
“The primary focus is really aligning the student population,” Craig said. “We will move school buildings that are stressed, or are anticipated to be stressed, into existing facilities that have classroom space.”
Craig said he has started discussions with the Justice Department concerning the rezoning, and that they are working together to provide the best learning environment for all kids.
Mitchell Neely, who represented Southeast Crest, Southpointe, Grand Oaks, Lake Crest and other neighborhoods, said he wanted to instill the spirit of collaboration with the board and hopes the process of rezoning can be a collaborative project between the parents and the board.
“If you look at the number of homes we have in the city of Hoover that are on the books already, those have been there, and we have monitored the pace,” Craig said. “Right now it looks as if the most intense building in the next five years is going to come in Ross Bridge.”
He said the amount of children coming from that area is soon going to put the schools at capacity, and they also have schools in the area that are less than half full. He said in the past Trace Crossings has had about 1,000 students and is the biggest school “footprint” Hoover has now.
The areas most effected are those located between the two zone lines, and Craig stressed that nothing is certain yet. The most recent changes were made the previous weekend.
While the controversy over rezoning within Hoover City Schools is heated, Jason Gaston with Hoover City Schools said it is good that Hoover has a school system with so many passionate parents who want to get involved with the board of education decisions.
Possible affected areas
- Grand Oaks Woodlands area
- Lake Cyrus area
- Lake Crest area
- Ridge Crossings area
- Riverchase Landing area
- Bluff Park area
- Wood Gardens area
- Multi-dwelling area between Highway 31 and Valleydale Road