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.”

UPDATE: Rezoning, Bus Fees, and Green Factors

There are three issues on the table: (1) the rezoning proposal, (2) the bus fees, and (3) the determination of whether Hoover City (and Jefferson County) has met its obligations on the Green factors.

There was a conference call on Monday, January 26, between the parties that resulted in all attorneys agreeing to file motions requesting time extensions of the January 30, 2015, due dates.

The due date for the joint statement of the attorneys involved (Jefferson County, Hoover, NAACP LDF and DOJ) has been postponed until February 6, 2015.

This motion requests an extension on the joint statement. As part of the reason given for requesting the extension, Hoover board of education attorney Donald Sweeney stated one of the reasons to be “the necessity for the Board to address its position regarding two components of the six Green factors at a Board meeting scheduled for February 2, 2015”.

No mention of what those “two components” are.

The due date for the requirement for Hoover to file 5 years of additional data (2009-2013) has been postponed until February 13, 2015. Here is the 2014 data for school year 2013-2014.

This motion requests an extension of time to produce the data.

The Judge granted the motions for extensions on Wednesday, January 27.Pages from Order Granting 995 and 996 Motions

What’s on the Table

The rezoning proposal appears to have flaws, particularly given no reasons other than “balancing the numbers” have been given for moving one set of children who are living in apartment homes to another school, while moving another set of children who are living in apartment homes right back into that school. Hoover school officials have provided no justification for doing so, instructionally, programmatic, or otherwise. Thus, there is no benefit to the children being moved.

Rumors abound that the rezoning proposal has been “rejected”, but there has been no official word from Hoover or any of the other attorneys involved.

The bus fees are still on the table, and will likely be part of the discussion of the Green factor that relates to transportation.

The Green factors are: (1) student assignment, (2) faculty assignment, (3) staff assignment, (4) transportation, (5) extracurricular activities, and (6) facilities.

The Judge has allowed a larger conversation about  the treatment of students, regardless of race, to take center stage by putting focus on the Green factors.

Data will show whether Hoover is meeting its obligation to treat all students the same in class assignment and facilities, which includes disciplinary actions. Initial review of the 2013-2014 data that Hoover filed in November 2014, reveals serious concerns about placement of students in high school classes.

All attorneys have been called to a status conference, set for February 20, 2015, though it is unclear whether the conference will be via telephone, in the Judge’s chambers, or held in the courtroom where the public can attend.

This document outlines the general process for school districts seeking “unitary status”, meaning they have eliminated their dual system (one for white students, one for African-American students) of education.