Breaking News Update! County Commissioner's daughter files lawsuit claiming school board retaliation.
An overflow crowd filled First Missionary Baptist Church Wednesday night to pray for peace and equality in Huntsville's schools. But did the prayers help mend the rift between the city's black leaders and its school officials?
Absolutely Not, it only made school officials more determined not to listen to the city's black community. Thanks to BOE member Laurie McCaulley, the only black elected official who supports the re-segregation of the school district, we know the only reason the Superintendent and the Board of Education attended the meeting was because Mayor Battle invited them. It must have been painful for them to have to sit there and listen to the lies and deceptions be exposed before God and country.
Mending fences with the black community is the last thing on the mind of this superintendent. Wardynski, assisted by the district 1 BOE representative , and the president of the Huntsville Council of PTSA's, attended the J.O.Johnson PTSA election the day after the prayer vigil. According to my sources, with Wardynski, McCaulley, and Elisa Ferrall in attendance, members of the J.O. Johnson Alumni Association were told their individual memberships were not valid because there were no copies of their membership applications. They were also informed the application fees they paid were a donation, and refused to refund them. So they had a record of the donations but not the membership. Only two members of the JOJ Alumni Association were allowed to vote, but here's the kicker, ballots were not secret, they had to be printed and signed or they weren't counted.
Reynard Jones was elected President, and Carlos Matthews was elected Vice President of the J.O.Johnson PTSA by a vote of 21-2. Neither of these persons have children who attend J.O. Johnson, nor are either J.O.Johnson Alums. Both were members of the hand picked members of the so called naming committee.
Last night the Huntsville City School Board of Education violated their own policy on the Selection of School, Facility, and/or Property Name (Policy 2.9, presented September 5, 2013) by concluding the process and voting on the new names approximately three weeks before they were allowed to do so.Why is Wardynski trying to gain control of the J.O.Johnson PTSA? Possibly for the same reason the BOE violated their own naming policy.
On September 5, 2013, the board met and discussed during their work session a new policy entitled, “Selection of School, Facility, and/or Property Name” (Policy 2.9). This policy was necessary to ensure that the process of receiving new names for schools would be as open to the public as possible. Laurie McCaulley, who was at that time serving as the School Board President, assured the public present that evening that the public would have every opportunity to “have input on these changes.”
The board was receiving political heat over this decision, and they don’t like political heat or pressure. Despite their claims to the contrary, they actually do prefer it when the board room is filled with nothing but employees whom they control.Is what Paul Gattis | firstname.lastname@example.org
That was why they held between 10 and 15 seats in a standing room only crowd last night for TFAers. (There are, by the way, only about 50 seats in the room that aren’t always taken by school district employees.)
That was why they kept the general public waiting outside until 5:15pm.
That was why they instigated a new policy of requiring all questions from the public during the work session part of the meeting to be submitted in writing (that they then refused to read out loud).
That was why Dr. Robinson decided that it would be a good idea to berate Johnson parents for supposedly caring more about the name of the school rather than the test scores when she said, “My challenge would be to those folks who have been spending a lot of time focused on the name that you might want to put that same focus on the test scores.”
That was why Ms. McCaulley seemed to have such difficulty reading citizens’ questions or putting forth a coherent statement on her position.
That was why Mr. Blair seemed incapable of doing anything other than demand complete silence from a crowd of interested citizens.
That was why Dr. Wardynski asked security to remove the few non-employees who managed to get seats in the room.
Wardynski, Blair and Robinson are all three looking ahead to their own political futures, and they decided that the naming question had embarrassed them long enough.
Mr. Culbreath’s only contribution was to claim, by holding up a folder that he “had received only a few hours ago,” that he just didn’t understand how anyone could claim that this process had been anything other than transparent.
Well, Mr. Culbreath, when the board refuses to follow their own rules, the process is significantly less transparent than it should be, don’t you think?
Only Mr. Birney seemed genuinely concerned about the process that they were pushing through when he shared that Mae Jemison didn’t appreciate her southern heritage by pointing out, “You may have the possibility of Dr. Jemison refusing this as she has publicly declaimed the fact that she was born in the south. She resented that heritage.” Mr. Birney was the lone dissenting voice on this matter last night.
Thank you, Mr. Birney.
This is just one more example of this board and this superintendent doing exactly what they want to do in the way they want to do it without consideration of what the community wants. They’ve done it with Special Education students. They’ve done it with the naming of schools. They’ve done it with the location of schools.
Next up, they’ll be doing it with the rezoning of schools.
It’s time for all of them to be sent packing.
No great insight here but this showdown is good for no one. Hopefully this difficult situation will find a proper resolution to the betterment of children in Huntsville. Sadly, it's hard to envision that right now.Time will tell the truth, but based on the actions of this Superintendent and this Board of Education I don't believe finding a proper resolution to the betterment of ALL children in Huntsville is in the cards. Ironically, Wardynski and Company could have probably gotten away with their evil plan if a number of councilmen and elected officials had warned him it would be a gargantuan mistake to change the name of Lee, I mean, J.O.Johnson High School.
As long as the quality of public education in Huntsville is based on parental income and property values there is no hope for the Huntsville City Schools.From the position paper:
Again, we agree with the United States Department of Justice that the students of Northwest Huntsville deserve fair and equitable treatment in respect to all of their relationships with Huntsville City Schools System.You are either for fair and equitable treatment in respect to all students, or you are against fair and equitable treatment for all students in respect to all of their relationships with Huntsville City Schools.