Joint Report to the Court Regarding the Desegregation Order

The Joint Report was filed on Friday, February 6, 2015, pursuant to the Court’s order of November 12, 2014.

The purpose of getting all of the attorneys together was to allow them to determine if any disparities exist among any of the Green factors.

The Green factors are:  1) student assignment, 2) faculty assignment, 3) staff assignment, 4) transportation, 5) extracurricular activities, and 6) facilities. The Green factors are used to determine whether disparities that could result in segregation within school districts exist.

See this post for more details.

See this information for more about how a district obtains unitary status (meaning a dual system of education…one for white children and one for minority children…no longer exists).

The legal standard to determine if a district has obtained unitary status is documented on page 4 of the filing and is as follows:

The ultimate inquiry in determining whether a school district is unitary is whether the district has: (1) fully and satisfactorily complied in good faith with the court’s desegregation orders for a reasonable period of time; (2) eliminated the vestiges of prior de jure segregation to the extent practicable; and (3) demonstrated a good faith commitment to the whole of the court’s order and to those provisions of the law and the Constitution which were the predicate for judicial intervention in the first instance.

Both Jefferson County and Hoover City schools are a part of this review. The review of Hoover’s Green factors begins on page 15.

The crux of the statement is that the DOJ nor the NAACP LDF (referred to as the “private plaintiffs”) have not been able to obtain enough information to make a determination on any of the factors. [Updated 2/10/15 2:25 p.m. to add “not” to the previous sentence. Apologies for any confusion.]

It ends with “Given that Hoover currently does not have a permanent superintendent, the timeline [for developing a plan for discussion] is still under review.”

The Superintendent Search Survey

Hoover parents and school employees have until February 6 to complete the survey created by New South Research, at a cost of $7,200, to gather opinions on what qualities are wanted in  and what priorities should be focused on by a superintendent.

Community members hoping to be surveyed will have to wait on a phone call.

Taking a peek through the survey, I couldn’t help but notice the leading questions within the survey. And the glaring omissions.

First the omissions:

Liz Wallace, former Hoover Parent Teacher Council president and current Hoover resident, shared this on her Facebook page (I placed the red box and arrow into the image for this post):

“This is a page [page 3] from the Community Survey that Hoover City Schools has commissioned to get input about the experience, skills, and priorities we would like to see in our next Superintendent. I find it disturbing that while the characteristic of ‘maintaining quality athletic programs’ is on the survey, ‘maintaining quality fine arts programs’ is nowhere. The applicants for the position will have no way of knowing the desires of the stakeholders with regard to the fine arts, because there is not even a place to write it in on the survey.

This school system produces award-winning and nationally recognized musicians, singers, actors, artists, sculptors, and dancers. Students put hours and hours of hard work into those endeavors, and dozens upon dozens continue those studies in college and beyond. Shouldn’t quality fine arts programs rank a mention on the survey?”

Great question, Liz. So the arts didn’t even rank a separate mention.

Next, the leading questions.

How did “managing transportation cost” even get added to the survey? Didn’t former Superintendent Andy Craig tell us that money was no longer a problem in Hoover schools?

From this November 20, 2014, al.com article:

The Hoover school system’s overall fund balance stands at about $90 million, which is 7 1/2 times the amount recommended by the state, Craig said. “We’ve got a very strong position.”

What about managing supplement costs (that rise exponentially every year as a percentage of an ever-increasing step-raise for teachers) or managing consultant costs (like the consultants hired to search for the superintendent) or managing technology costs?

Why pick on transportation?

Look a few lines down in that same image to find “Rezoning to maximize resources”….what does that even mean? When was rezoning about maximizing resources? Didn’t Craig tell the community that rezoning was about dispersing minority children throughout the community to avoid an intervention by the “Justice Department”?

From the “Student Reassignment Plan Proposal”:

The current realignment and rezoning process is therefore seen as an opportunity to rebalance the student composition of Hoover’s schools, not merely because this is a compulsory external requirement, but also because it supports the Hoover Schools community’s values related to diversity and positioning all schools and all students to be successful. By embarking on the realignment planning process now, Hoover City Schools has the opportunity to “do it right”, to be proactive, and to afford itself and its constituent families as much time as possible to prepare for plan implementation. When done properly, as we have sought to do, rezoning can be characterized as “preventative maintenance”. Realigning student population before schools become overcrowded or segregated is akin to rotating and balancing the tires of one’s car. Doing so addresses uneven wear and prolongs the life of the tires, protecting one’s investment. To extend the metaphor, proactive and periodic tire maintenance may also prevent a catastrophic blow-out (the equivalent of running out of room for students or facing Justice Department intervention). (page 4 of this document)

[The tire-rotation and -balance metaphor is still perplexing. Children are akin to tires on a car?]

And how can you not find irony in the ordering of items, with “maintaining a culture of trust” listed just above “managing transportation cost”?

Were the Superintendent and the Board working to “maintain a culture of trust” when they eliminated buses in the middle of the summer, without announcing it or asking for community input?

The Full Survey

Here’s the full survey, captured from screenshots.

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