Race playing factor in transfers from Huntsville's failings scho - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Race playing factor in transfers from Huntsville's failings schools

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Source: MGN Online Source: MGN Online
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

A student's race will play a factor in deciding if he or she is able to transfer from a failing Huntsville City School to a non-failing Huntsville City School. The reason is all due to the Federal Desegregation Order the district has been under for four decades.

A spokesperson for Governor Robert Bentley said he was aware of the federal order before he signed the Alabama Accountability Act into law. Under the act, students at failing schools can transfer to non-failing schools. On Tuesday, education officials released the list of all failing schools across the state. Nine Huntsville City Schools made the list.

State Senator Bill Holtzclaw said legislative leaders were also aware of the mandate. Holtzclaw expected challenges because of the new legislation and believes the situation, in Huntsville, is a unique one.

Huntsville City Schools confirmed it will be very difficult for Caucasian students to leave a failing school for a non-failing school in the district. Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski addressed the issue on Tuesday. He said an African-American student would get a transfer spot over a Caucasian student because of the federal mandate. 

"The federal law trumps state laws and my first duty is in the area of minority and majority transfers," said Wardynski. "I will honor that duty."

Thousands of Huntsville City School students are now eligible to transfer.

"I do think it's unfortunate that in this situation, and with respect to the Federal Desegregation Order," said Holtzclaw. "Someone, having been given school choice by the state, is going to be strapped by a federal law."

A spokesperson for Alabama Governor Robert Bentley released the following statement.

"Our focus is helping schools improve. Governor Bentley will continue working with Dr. Bice and the State Board of Education to build on the progress that many schools across the state are making. For instance, Dr. Bice pointed to MLK Elementary in Huntsville and MLK Elementary in Tuscaloosa as examples of schools that have made particularly impressive gains. As local school systems begin to take advantage of the flexibility provisions of the Accountability Act, we expect many more public schools will make significant progress. Governor Bentley appreciates the hard work of all of our educators who, like the Governor, are committed to serving the best interests of our students."

It's unknown how much room Huntsville City Schools has at non-failing schools for transfer students. 

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