Gardendale, Ala., is a majority-white city that happens to be located in the mostly black Jefferson County school district … however, residents are pushing to change that.
According to NPR, voters in Gardendale raised property taxes on themselves several years ago in an attempt to form their own independent school district. Gardendale Mayor Stan Hogeland told NPR that the proposal to leave Jefferson County Schools has nothing to do with race and more to do, he says, with what is best for Gardendale kids.
Hogeland argued that there would be more accountability "if we had our school system, with a local superintendent, and a local board that lives in town that you see when you go shopping or at church."
However, Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Craig Pouncey told NPR that he has yet to hear "the real reason why [Gardendale] wants to form their own system," and that on top of that, it will hurt the district's effort to desegregate, as well as take away funds the school district gets from the city's tax revenues, some staff and special programs.
"I don't fault a city for wanting to do this, but they have to be mindful of the overall impact," Pouncey told NPR.
Gardendale is counterarguing that it isn't violating any civil rights or segregating, with part of its plan allowing for some 700 African-American students from one specific area to stay within the new school system, even though they live outside city limits.
For now, however, the final decision rests with a federal judge, who could decide any day now whether Gardendale is violating civil rights if it leaves the Jefferson County school district.
Read more at NPR.