The struggle at this point appears to be over how much money the Gardendale Board of Education should have to pay to Jefferson County’s Board of Education for Gardendale High School, built in 2010 at a cost reported at the time to be $46 million, paid for with proceeds from a 2004 Jefferson County Commission $1 billion bond issue to build new schools.
Pouncey: “JeffCo Board of Education fundamentally disagrees that Gardendale should get that $55 million school for nothing,” to cheers.
— Madison Underwood (@MadisonU) March 17, 2015
Not sure what accounts for the discrepancy in the reported $46 million and Pouncey’s quote of $55 million.
On March 2, State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice ruled that the Gardendale Board of Education did not owe the Jefferson County Board of Education any money for Gardendale High School.
In Monday night meeting at Mount Olive Elementary School (where al.com’s Madison Underwood so capably tweeted the tweets highlighted here), held to address parent and faculty concerns about the ongoing separation negotiations between the two districts, Pouncey said Jefferson County will need to build a new high school, and it will likely cost between $28 and $29 million, serving 1200 students in grades 7 through 12.
Where will county school be? Pouncey “That’s yet to be determined.” “You’re talking about 1,200 students 7-12.” Ideal number for 7-12 school — Madison Underwood (@MadisonU) March 16, 2015
Pouncey says there are some ideas of placement, but nothing solid. $28-29 million school. Have to figure out how to finance it.
— Madison Underwood (@MadisonU) March 16, 2015
Pouncey stated the Jefferson County Board of Education cannot afford to replace Gardendale High School with a new county high school.
The 13 high schools in Jefferson County and their total enrollment are listed below. All schools serve grades 9 through 12, with the exception of the two schools serving students in grades 6 through 12 noted below:
Shades Valley High School – 1348
Clay-Chalkville High School – 1333
Hueytown High School – 1113
Gardendale High School – 1095
Minor High School – 1003
Pinson Valley High School – 1028
McAdory High School – 975
Center Point High School – 844
Mortimer Jordan High School – 751
Pleasant Grove High School – 548
Oak Grove High School (grades 6-12) – 885
Corner High School – 521
Fultondale High School (grades 6 -12) – 637
The city of Gardendale formed its own school system on March 12, 2014, after more than a year of talks and planning by a grassroots group of community members and a subsequent vote of the community to increase its property taxes by 5 mills in order to adequately fund the city’s new system.
Alabama law allows cities of more than 5,000 people to break away from a county school board and form their own school system, as long as 10 mills of property tax are devoted to funding a city’s schools.
The Jefferson County Board of Education has now asked U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala to rule on whether Gardendale’s exit from the county schools will have a negative impact on the county’s efforts to continue desegregation efforts and achieve unitary status.
Read that linked article. Al.com’s Kent Faulk does a fabulous job summing up the motions from both sides.
And for those of you that prefer to see the actual court documents, keep reading.
Here is the document filed by Whit Colvin, attorney for Jefferson County’s Board of Education on March 12, 2015. The attachments are in a separate Scribd file embedded below this one.
Here are the attachments to the document above. Each Attachment was filed separately but is aggregated for presentation here. The top of each page tells you which attachment you are viewing.
Here is Gardendale’s Board of Education attorney Donald Sweeney’s response filed with the court on Friday, March 13, 2015. Attachments, while filed separately, are aggregated in this document and presented in order.
Sweeney asks for Gardendale to be placed under the same 1971 desegregation order that applies to Jefferson County schools in an effort to prove Gardendale’s exit would not negatively impact desegregation efforts.
No word on when Judge Haikala will rule on these filings.