For nearly three years, the Gardendale community has been waiting patiently while we and our opponents have had our case heard before the Federal Court. After the court unexpectedly ordered a two-school system for Gardendale this Fall, the Plaintiffs stated they would appeal that ruling to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Yesterday the Plaintiffs filed both an appeal and a motion to stay, asking the district court to postpone Gardendale’s operation of a school system until the appeal wraps up next year. The court has not yet ruled on that motion. If the Court allows a stay, this would mean that the two elementary schools in Gardendale would remain in the Jefferson County System until the outcome of an appeal is complete.
The Board has now filed a cross-appeal because we too believe there are aspects of the court’s order that should be reviewed by the Eleventh Circuit. In the cross-appeal, the Board will ask the Eleventh Circuit to allow it to operate the complete, four-school system that Gardendale has sought all along. The Board will demonstrate on appeal that no one’s civil rights have ever been endangered by Gardendale’s separation efforts. With its own case on appeal, the Board hopes that ultimately it can deliver what our community has worked so hard for: a school system operated by an accountable and locally-appointed board of education.
The Board heard from the community and City leadership last week and is grateful for the thoughts and concerns expressed at the public meeting by residents and parents alike who have questions about a two-school system. The cross-appeal that we have filed is intended to address those and other concerns, and we believe it is in the best interest of Gardendale’s students and parents to ask the Eleventh Circuit for permission to offer the improved education that a complete, four-school system would provide.
Submitted respectfully by the Gardendale City School System Board