A federal appeals court on Tuesday denied the city of Gardendale, Ala.’s request to secede from Jefferson County Schools to form its own system.
The 11th Circuit Court cited racial and discriminatory reasons for denying the predominantly white city of Gardendale request to secede from the majority black Jefferson County.
“Instead of denying the motion to secede, the district court – unprompted by either party – devised its own secession plan,”Judge William Pryor wrote in the decision. “In doing so, it weighed a number of impermissible considerations and thereby abused its discretion.”
The city of Gardendale has been working toward forming their own school system since 2012. Following the court’s decision, President of Gardendale City Schools Board of Education Dr. Michael Hogue said the fight is not over.
“We know the heart and intent of this board and of the residents of Gardendale as a welcoming community, and we believe our actions reflect just that,” said Hogue in a statement. “This is not the result we deserve, and the fight is not over.”
Since the Jefferson County school system is under court-ordered desegregation, any changes in school demographics, such as the proposed secession, must be approved by the federal government.
Dr. Craig Pouncey, superintendent of Jefferson County schools, said he’s pleased with the ruling.
“There were a number of programs that Jefferson County invested in and placed in Gardendale that Gardendale would have actually closed because they don’t have the local tax base with which to keep those going,” said Dr. Pouncey.