HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - 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 white students.
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 payer.
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.