Huntsville City Schools, Alabama
|Huntsville City Schools|
|Number of schools:||40|
|Website:||School Home Page|
|Board of Education|
|Board president:||Laurie McCaulley|
- 1 About the district
- 2 Superintendent
- 3 School board
- 4 Budget
- 5 Teacher salaries
- 6 Schools in Huntsville City
- 7 Academic performance
- 8 Issues
- 9 Contact Information
- 10 See also
- 11 External links
- 12 References
About the districtMadison County, Alabama. The county seat of Madison County is Huntsville. Madison County is home to 346,892 residents, according to the United States Census Bureau.
Madison County outperformed the rest of Alabama in terms of higher education achievement in 2013. The United States Census Bureau found that 37.8 percent of Madison County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 22.3 percent for Alabama as a whole. The median household income in Madison County was $58,242 compared to $43,160 for the state of Alabama. The poverty rate in Madison County was 12.4 percent compared to 18.1 percent for the entire state.
Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.
The superintendent of Huntsville City Schools is Dr. Casey Wardynski. Appointed to the position in June 2011, he previously served as chief financial officer for Aurora Public Schools in Colorado. He has also been director of the Office of Economic & Manpower Analysis at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and an associate professor of economics. He has a bachelor’s degree from the United States Military Academy, master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University and a doctorate in policy analysis from the Rand Pardee Graduate School.
In October 2014, the school board vote to extend Wardynski's contract through 2017, with annual renewals automatic beginning in 2015. He is paid $175,000 annually. His full contract is available here.
Huntsville City Schools are overseen by a five-member board, all of whom are elected to four-year terms by geographic electoral district. As of November 1, 2010, school board members were paid $15,564 per year, with the board president receiving $18,672 per year. Compensation was adjusted following a 2010 audit that found board members had received $23,343 per year, exceeding the maximum allowed by law. Following the reduction Huntsville school board members still received higher pay than any others in Alabama.
|Huntsville City Schools Board of Education|
|Member||District||Assumed Office||Term Ends|
School board elections
- See also: Huntsville City Schools elections (2014)
Members of the Huntsville City Schools Board of Education are elected to four-year terms. Three seats were up in 2014 and two seats will be up for election in 2016.
Terms of office begin the first Monday in October in the year of the election.
Public participation in board meetings
The Huntsville City Schools Board of Education does not maintain a publicly available policy on public testimony during board meetings.
The table below displays the budget for the Huntsville City School District:
|Expenditures by Category|
|School Year||Staff Expenses||Student Services||Operational Expenses||Debt Service||Other||Budget Total|
|Total||% of Budget||Total||% of Budget||Total||% of Budget||Total||% of Budget||Total||% of Budget|
Huntsville City Schools employed 1,512 K-12 teachers during the 2011-2012 school year.
The following tables detail the 2013-2014 Alabama state minimum salary schedule for classroom teachers:
Nine month contract
|Degree level||Minimum salary ($)||Maximum salary ($)|
Ten month contract
|Degree level||Minimum salary ($)||Maximum salary ($)|
Schools in Huntsville City
Huntsville City Schools served 22,848 students in 40 schools during the 2013–2014 school year. The district has not experienced a significant increase or decrease in enrollment in recent years.
|Year||Enrollment||Year-to-year change (%)|
Huntsville City Schools operates 40 schools listed below in alphabetical order:
|Huntsville City Schools|
|Academy for Academics and Arts|
|Academy for Science and Foreign Language|
|Butler High School|
|Columbia High School|
|Goldsmith Schiffman Elementary|
|Grissom High School|
|Hampton Cove Elementary|
|Hampton Cove Middle|
|The Huntsville Center of Technology|
|Huntsville High School|
|J.E. Williams Elementary School|
|James Dawson Elementary|
|Johnson High School|
|Jones Valley Elementary|
|Lee High School|
|Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary|
|McNair Jr. High|
|Monte Sano Elementary|
|Mountain Gap P-8|
|New Century Technology High School|
|Rolling Hills Elementary|
|University Place Elementary|
|Weatherly Heights Elementary|
Starting with the 2013-2014 school year, the Alabama Department of Education replaced the No Child Left Behind Act with Plan 2020, a new way of measuring student achievement in the state. In addition to eliminating the Alabama High School Graduation Exam as the only path to graduation and switching to college and career readiness standards to judge student progress, Plan 2020 set achievement goals meant to close the achievement gap between students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. While the No Child Left Behind Act set the goal of having 100 percent of all students be proficient in math and reading, Plan 2020 set different proficiency goals for students based on subgroups. There are nine subgroups within the plan: American Indian, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, black, white, multi-race, English language learners, poverty and special education. Plan 2020 gave each subgroup an improvement goal for each year from its start in 2013 until 2020. Under the plan, all students will be at the same proficiency level by 2020.
As of November 13, 2014, academic performance information was not available through the Alabama Department of Education's website. An April 25, 2014, posting on the department website stated the information would be available soon.
In May 2014, Huntsville City Schools faced the U.S. Department of Justice to debate the racial implications of redrawing school zones. The school rezoning has to be approved by a federal judge because of a desegregation lawsuit dating back to 1963, when the federal government sued to end racial segregation in the system. While the district believed it had complied with desegregation laws, the Department of Justice believed the district operated a dual system, since many schools were almost predominantly white or predominantly African American. Huntsville submitted rezoning plans in February 2014, but the Department of Justice rejected the plans.
On June 30, 2014, the case's presiding judge, U.S. District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala, ordered both sides enter into mediation to examine all aspects of racial disparities across the school district and create a rezoning plan that both parties can agree on. She said, "the fact that the district integrated the student bodies of many of its schools in the early 1970s does not automatically lead to the conclusion that the district does not currently operate a dual system." Although the schools were integrated in the 1970s, Haikala believes the district has seen a demographic shift since then that has affected school composition. She also believes the Department of Justice's proposed plan might cause risk to the district, such as causing students to leave the public school system for the local private schools. Haikala appointed Chief Magistrate Judge John Ott to oversee the mediation process.
Petition for superintendent resignation
In July 2014, Terri Michal, a self-described education activist, started a petition asking the Huntsville school board to demand Superintendent Casey Wardynski's resignation. Michal says she began the petition to show the board and the superintendent that residents from all over the district disapprove of his policies. Although Michal does not live in Huntsville, she has stayed interested in the school district because of the racial tensions in the district and because she is against corporate education reform. The petition calls for Wardynski's resignation because of his testimony during the desegregation dispute, accusations of disregard for parents, students and citizens and accusations of creating a poor working environment that, Michal says, has resulted in more than 700 employees leaving the district since he arrived in the summer of 2011. School board member Mike Culbreath said that Wardynski and his staff have done a good job with the district's finances, raising students' test scores and improving the schools' graduation rates.
Social media monitoring of students
Documents released in October 2014 showed that Huntsville City Schools paid $157,190 to consulting firm T&W Operations for the work of their employee, Chris McRae, a former FBI agent. Among other duties, McRae was in charge of the district's SAFe (Students Against Fear) program. Through this program the social media accounts of 600 students were investigated, leading to the expulsion of 14 students.
In September 2014, Huntsville schools Superintendent Casey Wardynski said the secret program was started a year and a half earlier following a call from the National Security Agency (NSA) about a student making threats on Facebook. The NSA said they do not deal with local school districts and had no record of such a call. Adding to the lack of clarity surrounding the program, school board members Topper Birney, Laurie McCaulley and Mike Culbreath said they had no knowledge of the program and that the board had not been informed about it, yet board president David Blair said he had been aware of it for some time.
- Alabama school districts
- List of school districts in Alabama
- Huntsville City Schools elections (2014)
- School board elections portal
- Huntsville City Schools
- Huntsville Education Association
- Alabama Education Association
- Huntsville, Alabama
- Madison County, Alabama
- Alabama Department of Education
- Alabama Association of School Boards
- WHNT, "State Report Shows Big Improvement to Huntsville City Graduation Rates," June 12, 2013
- National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed April 22, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Madison County, Alabama," accessed July 9, 2014
- Alabama Secretary of State, "Election Information," accessed July 9, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
- Huntsville City Schools, "Dr. Casey Wardynski," accessed November 13, 2014
- AL.com, "Huntsville Superintendent Casey Wardynski's contract extended - with automatic renewals starting in 2015 - despite protests," October 16, 2014
- AL.com, "Pay for Huntsville school board exceeded legal limit," February 4, 2011
- Huntsville City Board of Education, "Policy Manual (Revised October 17, 2014)," accessed November 13, 2014
- Huntsville City Schools, "Fiscal Year 2013," accessed December 11, 2013
- Huntsville City Schools, "Classified and Non-Instructional Certified Compensation Plan," October 1, 2013
- Alabama State Department of Education, "Enrollment by Ethnicity and Gender (System Level)," accessed November 20, 2014
- Tuscaloosa News, "Plan 2020 brings praise, criticism," July 3, 2013
- Cullman Times, "Education Revolution: How Plan 2020 Could Reshape Education in Alabama," December 9, 2012
- Alabama State Department of Education, "Accountability > All What's New in Accountability," accessed November 13, 2014
- AL.com, "Live updates on desegregation hearing, day two: Huntsville v. United States," May 23, 2014
- Alabama Public Radio, "Judge Orders Mediation in Huntsville Desegregation Suit," accessed July 10, 2014
- WHNT 19 News, "Judge orders mediation in Huntsville schools rezoning case; board to meet Wednesday," July 1, 2014
- AL.com, "Petition on Change.org calls for Huntsville Superintendent Casey Wardynski's resignation," July 9, 2014
- AL.com, "Huntsville schools paid $157,000 for former FBI agent, social media monitoring led to 14 expulsions," November 1, 2014
- AL.com, "Huntsville schools say call from NSA led to monitoring students online," September 24, 2014
- AL.com, "Who knew what, when? Not all Huntsville school board members knew of student social media surveillance," September 24, 2014