This past Thursday night the Huntsville City Schools Board of Education voted unanimously (thanks for standing up for your beliefs there, Mr. Birney) to adopt Wardynski’s rezoning plan that he developed and implemented entirely without public input.
And Robinson was right there to cheerlead that the public couldn’t be involved. She’s going to make a “great” representative on the city council, isn’t she? I’m sure she’ll listen to the public much more once she’s over there. As she said before the meeting:
“This is a lawsuit we’re trying to settle,” said board member Jennie Robinson today, comparing the ongoing federal negotiations with a divorce settlement. “You don’t go around asking for opinions on that.”
Board Privately Discusses Wardynski’s Interpretation of DoJ Plan
After an executive session where the board discussed how they were going to sell the community on the importance of their plan, they came out to do just that.
They began by sharing the Wardynski proposal again and then miraculously they had a presentation that had the DoJ plan’s feeder patterns in a nice diagram as well. (Someone either worked really fast to produce this, or the board wasn’t waiting with the public to find out what the DoJ plan was as Blair claimed.)
Here’s Wardynski’s proposed feeder pattern:
Here’s what Wardynski claimed the DoJ was recommending:
He, of course, offered no evidence that this is the DoJ’s actual plan.
Make note of that. He offered no evidence that this was the DoJ’s actual plan.
Even if we assume that Wardynski is telling the truth as he knows it, they’ve been involved in negotiations for a long time. During negotiations, plans, positions and proposals change dramatically over time. Perhaps Wardynski simply got it wrong. It’s happened before.
Lets Go To Court!
After his presentation, the Board of Education authorized Wardynski to file the Motion for Approval of his plan. The City of Huntsville is therefore fighting the Department of Justice in court over which plan should be adopted. This motion will be decided by the US District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Northeastern Division. You may download the motion here.
There was no discussion of how much this litigation might cost during the board meeting. And they answered no questions from the members of the public attending Thursday’s meeting.
Our litigation happy superintendent and board are taking us into more legal action.
So where does that leave us?
Let’s assume for a moment that the plans above are completely accurate representations of the two positions of Wardynski and the Department of Justice. Where do we stand?
A federal judge will now decide which of the two plans is best for the district. Or, potentially, the judge could order a third plan of his or her own. I suppose it is possible (but unlikely) that the judge would rule that nothing be done leaving the current zone lines in place sending the parties back to the negotiation table.
In other words, everything is completely up in the air.
But let’s play out one possible scenario for a moment:
What if the judge decides that the Wardynski plan, which was developed entirely without public input, is indeed to best plan for unifying the district into a single system. (That is the goal, after all.)
So, let’s assume that Wardynski wins.
What happens next?
Well, as Mr. Brooks stated Thursday night, rezoning is a part of the process to move towards a unified district and to therefore lift the desegregation order.
It does not end the desegregation order on its own.
Even If We Win, We Lose
So after months and possibly years of litigation over the rezoning plan, what have we won?
The district will still be under the control of the DoJ except now the plan that the DoJ believed would best bring us unification has been rejected.
The DoJ still controls our destiny. Does fighting their plan (even assuming we’ve seen their plan) bring us closer to unification?
Nope. It doesn’t.
The Wardynski Plan is a fool’s errand. We did not have to file it. And the public has had zero input into the plan.
So, after potentially years of litigation and expense, we will have accomplished absolutely nothing, even if we win.
Nothing except the following:
- Wardynski has shored up support for himself in this town because he’s willing to fight the “evil” federal government.
- Wardynski has improved his name recognition on a national level.
- Wardynski has spent a ton of the district’s money that he should be spending on improving education at all of our schools. And of course,
- We’re still a segregated system.
This is, in the Bard’s wise words, much ado about nothing.