Photo by Jon Anderson
Hoover school rezoning meeting 10-8-15 (2)
A parent talks to Hoover schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy during a meeting about school rezoning at Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover, Ala., on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015.
The last of five preliminary rezoning meetings for Hoover City Schools has been moved up to next week.
That means the final two preliminary meetings will be Tuesday, Nov. 3, at Green Valley Baptist Church at 6:30 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 5, at Metropolitan Church of God at 7 p.m.
Tuesday’s meeting is designed primarily for people in the Bluff Park, Green Valley and Gwin elementary school communities and Simmons Middle School community.
Thursday’s meeting is designed primarily for people in the Greystone, Riverchase, Rocky Ridge and Shades Mountain elementary school zones and the Berry Middle School and Spain Park High School communities.
However, both meetings are open to anyone who wishes to attend, regardless of school zone.
The meeting at Metropolitan Church of God originally was scheduled for Nov. 12, but Hoover schools spokesman Jason Gaston said school officials moved it up so they could more quickly craft a rezoning plan to put before the public.
Hoover schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy has said she hopes to have a plan ready to present to the public in January and will take more feedback after that. She then hopes to present a plan for the school board to consider in February or March and will ask the school board to vote on the plan in March or April, she said.
That way, parents will have as much notice as possible before a rezoning plan takes effect for the next academic year, she said.
Gaston said the rezoning meeting at Metropolitan Church of God also was moved up a week to give Murphy more time to consider community feedback before meeting with U.S. Judge Madeline Haikala in a status conference in December.
Haikala is overseeing a decades-old desegregation federal court order and reviewing whether the Hoover and Jefferson County school systems have effectively implemented desegregation efforts to the point where federal supervision is no longer necessary.
That review includes an examination of the racial composition of student attendance zones, racial composition of the faculty and staff at each school, transportation, facilities and extra-curricular activities.
The federal court also must give approval for any redrawing of attendance zones before such rezoning can take effect.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, both parties to the longstanding Jefferson County desegregation case, also are being asked by Haikala to weigh in on those matters.
Murphy so far has held three preliminary community meetings about school rezoning: one on Oct. 6 at Brock’s Gap Intermediate School, a second at Hunter Street Baptist Church on Oct. 8 and a third at Deer Valley Elementary School on Oct. 19.
She is not presenting any zoning plan or maps – just outlining the reasons why Hoover City Schools needs to redraw attendance zones and entertaining comments and questions from the public.