HCS approves final proposed rezoning plan
Published 9:35 pm Monday, March 7, 2016
By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer
HOOVER – The Hoover City Board of Education unanimously approved at a special called meeting March 7 the final proposed rezoning plan for the Hoover City School System following public comments and remarks from board members lasting nearly two hours.
Under the plan, which is set to take effect for the 2016-2017 school year, 16 percent of the district’s students would change attendance zones, of which the majority, 69 percent, are elementary students.
In addition to public feedback, the final proposed plan was presented in accordance with an agreement HCS reached with the United States Department of Justice and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Numerous meetings were held to give community members an opportunity to voice their concerns about the proposed rezoning, which aims at addressing student distribution throughout schools and resource utilization, bearing in mind future municipal development.
HCS Superintendent Dr. Kathy Murphy said the plan underwent revisions based on the community’s input, but could not be revised to remedy all concerns presented to the board, since changes to the plan had to be made by a consensus of all parties – HCS, the Department of Justice and the Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
“This has not been a simple task,” Murphy said, noting the group considered multiple factors affecting rezoning, such as diversity, contiguous zones, walkability, growth potential and transportation. “We tried to find the plan that held least impact on our students. We’re a school district. We’re not planning for one school. Each school, each subdivision and each street contributes to the whole.”
More than a dozen citizens spoke during the public participation section of the meeting and expressed opposition to the final plan.
Several people asked the board, if it approved the plan, to allow for students to be grandfathered in at their current schools. Others voiced concerns about heavy traffic and transportation schedules for families with two or more children at schools farther apart from each other.
Concerns about families opting for private schools or moving out of the city because of the rezoning also surfaced during the meeting.
The final rezoning plan will be presented to U.S. Federal Judge Madeline Haikala in April for her consideration.
To view the rezoning plan, go to Hoovercityschools.net.