I realize that it’s hard to care sometimes about the actions and comments of our Superintendent and the Huntsville City Schools Board of Education. If you’ve listened to any of them for any period of time, you’re going to quickly come to the conclusion that they will tell you whatever they think will make you go away and stop bothering them by asking questions.
I’ve been watching and asking questions for about three years now. Trust me, I know how frustrating it can be. I know how often Dr. Robinson put me off when I was asking for information concerning the district’s plan to consolidate all the Special Education resource rooms into just one (and later two) schools.
They rarely seem to be held accountable for their broken promises, delays, and refusal to respond to the public, so one thinks, really, why bother fighting them at all.
It would be much easier to just leave. Pull your kids out of this nightmare of a district and home school or private school them.
But doing so leaves tens of thousands behind in the mess.
And so, it’s important to continue to document their attempts to deceive and hide the truth from the public.
One more instance came up Wednesday night.
The DOJ Didn’t Require The Board to Keep Quiet about Rezoning
Remember all the times that the public has asked about the rezoning plans that the district claimed to be developing? Back as far as April 15th, when The Huntsville Times published an opinion piece masquerading as news entitled, “Get Ready for the Rezoning of Huntsville City Schools” in which Mr. Stephens claimed that none of us should be surprised by these changes that would supposedly come to light “within weeks, not months” according to J. R. Brooks the board’s attorney.
In that article McCaulley, Blair, Brooks, and Robinson were all quoted in the article concerning the coming changes (which had been specifically denied before that article was published, despite Mr. Stephen’s claimed). All of them fell back on the claim that the DoJ was keeping them from sharing these plans with the public, but they would certainly do so “within weeks, not months.”
April 15, 2013 was 9 months ago, Mr. Brooks.
Then again back when the board decided to rename the New Johnson High School being built on the north side, they, led by McCaulley, Blair, Brooks, and again, Robinson claimed that they couldn’t really talk about the renaming of schools and the plans to rezone the district, because, as David Blair stated, “The feds are not letting us have those conversations right now.”
According to a letter sent to Mr. Brooks from Sarah Hinger, Trial Attorney for the United States, this is not and never has been true.
As it would seem that Mr. Stephens of The Huntsville Times has taken the board of education’s opinion as gospel in that he clearly defends the board’s opinion that the letter is not clear when he says, “it’s easy to see why” the board claims that the letter isn’t clear.
Thankfully, Mr. Stephen’s published the entire letter from Ms. Hinger after I requested him to do so. Please read the letter for yourself below.
The most relevant portion of the letter is the second paragraph which reads:
The United States has never raised an objection, and has no objecting, to the District distributing or discussing its proposals for school construction, closures, redistricting, or any other District policies, with the community. As you know, the District’s final plan must be approved by the Court pursuant to the desegregation orders governing the Huntsville City Schools District. In recent months, the District, Private Plaintiffs, and the United States have engaged in negotiations, which all parties understood would remain confidential, regarding possible plans to be submitted to the Court. The United States observes the confidential nature of these negotiations and does not make public any conversations or materials provided by the District to the United States in the course of discussions. However, this does not prevent the district from sharing information regarding its own initial proposals with the community or from communicating with the public in the course of developing its proposals.
In fact, if you continue reading to the third paragraph, you’ll see that Ms. Hinger goes so far as to inform Mr. Brooks that the board’s decision to leave the public out of the process will likely damage the process as a whole.
BOE Continues To “Spin” the Truth
Despite the clarity of the sentence highlighted above, McCaulley and Brooks, and one supposes Blair and Robinson, continue to hide behind the claim that the DoJ “are sending mixed messages” or that the DoJ’s letter “appears to [Brooks] to be a little inconsistent.”
In other words, at no time has the DoJ required or even suggested that the public should be kept in the dark by the superintendent and the Board of Education following his lead. In fact, the DoJ views keeping the public in the dark about these changes are detrimental to the process of achieving unitary status. Let’s be clear: the only thing the board and the DoJ have agreed to keep confidential are the negotiations. They were not required, advised or encouraged to keep the plans presented in the negotiations confidential in any way.
So, this presents us with a dilemma.
Either our board of education and superintendent have been lying to us all along (and continue to do so even after receiving this letter on December 17, 2013, or they are simply incapable of comprehending what has been clearly stated to them in writing.
You know we just finished yet another round of SchoolNet and STAR reading tests in our schools to determine whether or not our teachers are teaching our kids to read.
Perhaps we’ve been testing the wrong people.
I wonder at what level Wardynski, Blair, Robinson, McCaulley, and even Mr. Brooks are capable of reading, if they truly cannot understand a letter as clear as this one.
Wardynski Finally Discusses the Rezoning Plan
On Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 3:30pm in the Board Meeting room at the Merts Center, Dr. Wardynski will finally unveil his ultra-secret, “we’ve got to keep this confidential” re-zoning plan to the city.
Funny, I thought they were still confused by the DoJ’s “mixed messages.” Again, they are either lying, or they are incapable of understanding even their own statements. Either way, it’s about time that they allowed the public to at least see what they’ve been changing in our names for the past year.
When Wardynski makes his presentation on Thursday afternoon, keep the following statement in mind.
On January 14th when meeting with parents and interested citizens to discuss moving Grissom to the west side of the parkway (something else he promised he wouldn’t do), he made the following response to a question about rezoning Grissom High after the move:
Q. Are you considering rezoning with the new Grissom?
A. No. If there is [any rezoning], it will be for currently zoned students, not transferring students.
Dr. Wardynski went on to say that he, “will not have students transferring across town – students will go to new schools at Johnson or Butler in their home school zones.”
We’ll see on Wednesday how quickly he breaks this promise. It shouldn’t take long.
The Only Question That Matters Anymore
I began this blog noting how hard it is to still care about the actions and comments of the superintendent and the Board when they are so willing to re-write history whenever it suits their purposes. But the real question isn’t why people still care; we are, after all, talking about our children and our home.
The real question is how could anyone in this town trust anything that Wardynski, McCaulley, Blair, or Robinson say to us in the future?
Keep this in mind when you’re asked to vote for them again.