Gardendale looking at their options after court denies school system

Gardendale looking at their options after court denies school system
(Source: Hannah Ward/WBRC)

GARDENDALE, AL (WBRC) - New reaction from Gardendale's mayor to the court ruling Tuesday that the city can't start their own school system--even after putting millions of tax dollars towards that goal.

The city of Gardendale has been working toward their own school system since 2012.

Citizens wanted it so bad that they voted to pay for it. Gardendale Mayor Stan Hogeland says it was like someone hit him in the gut when he saw the 61-page ruling.

"Lots of questions and not a whole lot of answers at this time but you know obviously as the Mayor I am disappointed."

In 2013, citizens voted to increase their own property tax to help raise money for the school system.

"That shows as a community we want our own school and we are willing to help split the bill to improve it out here,".Robby Townes is a longtime resident in
Gardendale and has two children in Jefferson County Schools with the hopes that the schools would successfully split. "Now we are not there so I have to consider going back to private school or give it up all together," Townes explains.

Big question is will Gardendale appeal the decision and what will happen with the tax and money if they don't?

"We are just going to put everybody together and try to determine what step is next and not just what step is next but what step is best to take next," Mayor Hogeland explains.

They have raised millions of dollars for the education of students in the city and for the last few years that's not where it's being spent.

"It is so frustrating this process that we thought would have well been over by now knowing that money could have been used to help these kid's education but unfortunately it all got tied up in court in court fees and attorneys," Mayor Hogeland explains.

"I would be willing to take it all the way to the Supreme Court absolutely and keep paying my fair share to make it happen," Townes comments.

We also spoke with Jefferson County superintendent Craig Pouncey today who is pleased with the ruling. He says he wants to move forward now on trying to address some of the problems people in Gardendale have with Jefferson County and try to improve Gardendale's schools.

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