The 2010 and the 2012 Warrant (Bond) Issues

The Hoover Board of Education has $184 million in outstanding long-term debt. That’s just the principal. The interest on the long-term debt, assuming it is paid on the schedule indicated in the FY13 audit, equals $126 million.

Here is “Note 7 – Long Term Debt” located on pages 22 through 24 in the FY13 audit, which outlines details of the long-term debt payable by Hoover City Schools. Click the image to make it larger, or click this link to view the full FY13 audit posted on the Hoover City Schools’ web site.

Long-Term Debt from FY13 Audit


Here is the Official Statement regarding the 2010 Warrant Issue.

Here is the Official Statement regarding the 2012 Warrant Issue.

There is a lot of interesting information in those two documents.

Here is an article from’s Kyle Whitmire, written in July 2013, regarding the debt and deficit spending.


The Balanced Scorecard – Where’d It Go?

In 2008, Superintendent Andy Craig recommended, and the Board of Education approved, the implementation of a strategic planning initiative that utilized the Balanced Scorecard approach to tracking progress toward goals.

Hoover’s Strategic Planning page states this:

Hoover City Schools embarked on its long-range Strategic Planning Process in 2008. A strategic plan is a tool employed by any organization to ensure that its resources are being applied to the actions that can best help the organization to achieve its mission – an attempt to change perspective by moving above the ‘trees’ of everyday activities to see the forest of future possibilities. If a school system wants to improve, it needs a plan to do so.

A fluid and continually-updated plan, the HCS Strategic Plan incorporates three comprehensive goals representing key elements necessary to achieve the district’s mission: academic achievement; a collaborative learning culture; and organizational efficiency and effectiveness. The goals represent the things we do every day as a school district. As part of the Strategic Planning Process, it is necessary to collect data to determine whether we are accomplishing these goals. Data collection is achieved through ‘Balanced Scorecards’ – a system developed by the business community which, when adapted for education, tracks essential data sources over time which serve as indicators for system goals.

As students move from teacher to teacher, grade to grade, or building to building within our district, all of the adults helping your child will be focusing their efforts on the same mission. The collective success of the school or district depends on the individual success of each student, and the perspective gained through strategic planning process will help leaders to ensure that all of our children are given the resources and guidance to achieve educational excellence.

Here are the scorecards for the district:

2010-2011 Balanced Scorecard – Goal 1
2010-2011 Balanced Scorecard – Goal 2

2011-2012 Balanced Scorecard – Goals 1 and 2

2012-2013 Balanced Scorecard – Goals 1 and 2

It appears the Balanced Scorecard approach may have been abandoned, as Hoover City Schools Communications Director Jason Gaston responded to a request for the 2013-2014 Balanced Scorecard by saying, “There was not a scorecard for 2013-14 because that was the baseline year for the new Alabama PLAN 2020, the new assessment tool.”

While there are some components of the Balanced Scorecard that utilized scores from the standardized tests ARMT and AHSGE (both no longer used), there are many other components, such as The ACT, the ACT Explore, national merit semifinalist and finalist, AP, and other data that are still available and could be used in the Balanced Scorecard.

It is unclear at this time whether the Board of Education was informed as to the demise of the Balanced Scorecard.

Rezoning Plan Feedback? Email NOW:

The rezoning plan, a.k.a., the “Student Assignment Plan”, was made public on September 8 to families of children in Hoover schools. It was discussed at the September 8 Board Meeting, though I don’t recall the email address for feedback being mentioned.

[UPDATE 2/2/2015: The link in the sentence above no longer works. The only link available for the document is this one.)

While the Plan says nothing about where to submit feedback, if you go to the Hoover City Schools web site and click on “Student Assignment Plan Synopsis” under “District News”, you get this pop up window:

Rezoning Feedback

This directs you to “submit any feedback to”.

It does no good to email friends, board members, City Council members, the Mayor, the news stations, the Superintendent, or anyone else.

The emails MUST be directed to

When the final iteration of the plan is presented to the U.S. District Court for approval, school officials will claim that they offered the public an opportunity to provide input through the email address. And they will likely produce all of those emails for the Court as evidence that some folks did email.

So ANY feedback (positive, negative, neutral) about the rezoning plan should be emailed to

Do it quickly. Do it today.

Looking Back to Move Forward: Rezoning History from 2004 Until Now

Please take some time to read through Hoover’s history with rezoning school boundaries from 2004 until now. It is on its own page in order to allow you to find it quickly.

Riverchase Elementary was the last elementary school built, in 2004. Elementary school zones tend to be the ones that change the most in a growing city like Hoover.

As far as buildings go, the Freshman Campus was the last free-standing building built and was opened in 2007 for 9th graders zoned to Hoover High School. In 2011, the Freshman Campus was converted to Bumpus Middle School for 7th and 8th graders, and the old Bumpus Middle School campus was converted to Brock’s Gap Intermediate School for 5th and 6th graders in the Bumpus Middle School zone.

Since that time, no buildings have been built, though classrooms were added at Hoover High to accommodate growth on the western side of Hoover.

It is important to know how we got here so we can figure out where we need to go.

If Socioeconomic Status Is a Determining Factor for Rezoning, Why Is Green Valley Left Out?

While the official “student assignment” plan says nothing about the need to balance schools from a socioeconomic standpoint, Superintendent Andy Craig and consultant Tim Aho did refer to the need to balance elementary schools not only racially, but socioeonomically.

The socioeconomic indicator to which school officials are referring is the percentage of students eligible for free- or reduced-price meals.

But if that is the case, why is one elementary school, Green Valley Elementary, being completely left out of the rezoning plan?

Green Valley’s 2013-2014 enrollment showed 46% of students qualified for free- and reduced-price meals. Only one elementary school, Trace Crossings Elementary, had a higher percentage of students eligible, at 51%.

If Craig’s rezoning proposal is approved by the U.S. District Court, that percentage drops to 19% for Trace Crossings (second-lowest behind Greystone, which moves to 11%), but remains at 46% for Green Valley.

The only single-family-homeowning neighborhood to be rezoned is Lake Cyrus and they are being shuffled from Deer Valley to Trace Crossings.

And Deer Valley’s percentage doubles  to 26%, while Trace Crossings’ drops to 19%. How does that balance out anything? Look at South Shades Crest: from 24% to 32%.

And what’s with the apartment complex-shuffling at Rocky Ridge and Riverchase? Their percentages barely change.

What is really behind the dramatic drop in percentage at Trace Crossings? From 51% to 19%? Could it have anything to do with this?

Here’s a data visualization with the numbers going back to the 2004-2005 school year.  (Tableau data visualizations can’t be posted on sites.)

Here’s a static chart with only the pre- and post-rezoning percentages.

Pre and Post Rezoning - Socioeconomic



Agendas for Monday’s and Tuesday’s Board Meetings

Here is the newly-released (7:15 a.m. Monday) agenda for a called board meeting for Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. The only item is an Executive Session. Reasons that boards can call Executive Sessions are linked and summarized (kinda) at the bottom of this post.


Here’s the agenda for tonight’s budget hearing and board meeting. Notice there is nothing about rezoning. It will likely be presented in the Information/Reports section. The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m.September8,2014BoardMtgAgenda

Here’s a map for directions.

Executive Sessions

Executive Sessions can be called for these reasons delineated in §36-25A-7. What follows are the numbered reasons, which must be cited in the proof of compliance document prepared by the board’s attorney. These are somewhat summarized and are not complete. Check the link to the section for the actual complete wording.

(1) to discuss general reputation and character, physical condition, professional competence, or mental health of individuals, or job performance of certain public employees. HOWEVER, if the person whose job performance is being discussed is required to file a statement of economic interest (earning more than $75,000 a year), that job performance must be discussed in public.

(2) to consider discipline or dismissal of, or to hear formal written complaints or charges brought against a public employee or a student.

(3) to discuss with their attorney the legal ramifications of an legal options for pending litigation, controversies not yet being litigated but imminently likely to be litigated or iminently likely to be litigated if the governmental body pursues a proposed course of action, or to meet or confer with a mediator or arbitrator with respect to any litigation or decision cfoncerning matters within the jurisdiction of the voernmental body involving another party, group, or body.

(4) to discuss security plans, procedures, assessments, measures, or systems, or the security or safety of persons, structures, facilities, or other infrastructure.

(5) to discuss information that would disclose the identity of an undercover law enforcement agent or informer or to discuss the criminal investigation of a person who is not a public official in which allegations or charges of specific criminal misconduct have been made or to discuss whether or not to file a criminal complaint.

(6) to discuss the consideration the governmental body is willing to offer or accept when considering the purchase, sale, exchange, lease, or market value of real property. Provided, however, that the material terms of any contract to purchase, exchange, or lease real property shall be disclosed in the public portion of a meeting prior to the execution of the contract.

(7) has to do with Trade Secrets.

(8) to discuss strategy in preparation for negotiations between the governmental body and a group of public employees.

(9) to deliberate and discuss evidence or testimony presented during a public or contested case hearing and vote upon the outcome of the proceeding or hearing if the governmental body is acting in the capacity of a quasi-judicial body…

The Court Approval Process from 2011

The documents that Superintendent Andy Craig and the Board of Education filed with the U.S. District Court when asking for approval of the 2011 realignment of grade configurations among Trace Crossings, Deer Valley, South Shades Crest, Bumpus Middle and Hoover High are posted below.

The proposal also contained the plan to build 24-36 new classrooms at Hoover High to reunite the 9th grade with the 10th through 12th grade at the main campus.

The Freshman Campus was dissolved and recreated as Bumpus Middle School.

Bumpus Middle School became a school containing only grades 7 and 8.

The former Bumpus Middle School campus was recreated as Brock’s Gap Intermediate, which would serve students in grades 5 and 6.

The fifth grade was removed from Trace Crossings, Deer Valley, and South Shades Crest and placed at Brock’s Gap.

Here are the actual documents filed with the U.S. District Court.

Court Pleading from Hoover Board of Education

Attachments with Numbers Supporting the Requested Changes

The proposal was unopposed from either the Department of Justice or the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, both parties to the original court case, Stout v. Jefferson County Board of Education.

Donald Sweeney, attorney for the Hoover Board of Education, filed the request with the U.S. District Court on April 13, 2011.

Approval was granted by the U.S. District Court Judge Inge Johnson on April 14, 2011.

Judge Johnson retired in 2013. Johnson was replaced by Judge Madeline Haikala, who is now assigned to the case.

Two more documents you might find interesting:

1971 Order in the Stout v. Jefferson County Board of Education case, outlining requirements under the order

1988 Separation Agreement between Jefferson County and Hoover City Boards of Education