U.S. Justice Department, U.S. Attorney reviewing Hoover schools’ plan to cut buses

Published 7:08 am Friday, November 15, 2013

By CASSANDRA MICKENS / Associate Editor 

HOOVER – The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are reviewing Hoover City Schools’ decision to discontinue bus service beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, according to a statement released by Superintendent Andy Craig Nov. 14.

School officials’ decision to cut bus service has been met with opposition from some residents and parents who claim that the move is an attempt to rid the school system of minority and low-income students.  School officials maintain their decision is strictly financial, citing the bus cuts would save $2.5 million annually.

Craig’s statement reads: “As an ongoing component of planning and evaluating changes to Hoover City Schools’ delivery of transportation services, my office has engaged in discussions with various parties of interest. We have been in regular communication with State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice and other representatives of the State Department of Education. In addition, through my office, the Hoover City Board of Education has been engaged in and continues to dialogue with the United States Attorney’s Office and representatives for the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division.

“As a part of these continuing discussions, we have engaged in a collaborative review process with the Department of Justice, with the mutual goal of best serving the students of Hoover. To facilitate these discussions, the Department of Justice has requested certain information regarding the operation of our transportation program, and we will provide that information.

“I want to stress that we have been in open and productive dialogue with the United States Department of Justice, and we will continue to provide all relevant information.”

The Hoover school board met with its attorney in a private executive session Nov. 14 prior to the release of Craig’s statement, but no action was taken in the session.