Photo by Jon Anderson
Kathy Murphy 5-17-16
Hoover schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy listens during the Hoover school board meeting on Tuesday, May 17, 2016.
Hoover schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy tonight hinted but did not say directly that the rezoning plan presented to the federal court last month could be near approval.
Murphy said school officials were able to meet with U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala on Friday in her chambers. “It was a very productive conversation,” Murphy said.
The superintendent said Haikala was able to communicate to school officials her expectations of the school board going forward, and Murphy said she is very upbeat that school officials are getting close to a juncture where they will be able to address the direction the school district is headed.
Murphy said she knows there is a lot of anxiety in the community about the uncertainty of where children will be going to school in the next school year and she appreciates the patience people have shown in waiting for that answer.
The superintendent said she believes the Hoover school district is in a better place now than anytime since she came on the job a year ago, in terms of knowing who the school district is, where students are, where gaps are and what it will take to address those gaps.
She is determined to make sure the Hoover school district is doing all the right things for all children, and getting over this rezoning hurdle is a critical step toward accomplishing that, she said.
Murphy said she appreciates the collaborative relationship the Hoover school district has been able to maintain with the U.S. Department of Justice and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She also said she grown to respect and appreciate former U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon, who represented the original plaintiffs in the decades-old Jefferson County school desegregation lawsuit and has been serving as an associate attorney for the Legal Defense Fund in recent years.
Murphy said she’s grateful to be at this point and hopeful that in the next few days, school officials will be able to be more definitive about school zones for the 2016-17 school year.
The last day for students in this school year is May 26, and the first day of the 2016-17 school year is Aug. 11.
The plan presented to the federal court could potentially shift about 2,500 children to new schools in the 2016-17 school year. Hoover school officials say the rezoning is needed to put children in schools closer to their homes, maximize use of existing school buildings and to make room for future growth.
Hoover officials joined with the Justice Department and Legal Defense Fund in presenting a plan for the court to approve on April 7. Haikala early this month asked for more information to be filed with the court because she was confused by some of the evidence and testimony presented previously.