Newly released numbers
from the Huntsville school system show what it's taking to achieve what administrators
and the courts call "unitary status."
This is part of Huntsville
City Schools' push to have its schools officially declared equal for black and
For months, the legal
battle has been ongoing between the Huntsville city school district and the
Department of Justice, over the district's plans to rezone its schools.
The fight has become part
of the school system's long-term plan to achieve "unitary status,"
meaning it can get out from under a decades-old desegregation court order.
After hearings in federal
court, and countless motions filed, we're now getting a chance to see just how
much the quest for unitary status is all costing the district and the tax
With last year and this
year combined, the district has paid out just over $448,000 to two law firms
for legal support.
For a demographic firm to
analyze and study student make-up, that cost $154,000.
That figure totals just
over $603,000 - only a fraction of the legal budget however, to put it into
perspective, that dollar amount is equivalent to 6 to 10 teachers' salaries for
just one year.
The system must get
federal approval to make any zoning changes. The DOJ opposes the most recent
plan submitted by the district, which has kept this debate in the courts.
A federal judge will decide if the school
system can move forward with their proposed changes. The judge hopes to have a
decision by July. If she rules in the district's favor, this could open the
door for the district to gain unitary status.