After years of controversy over the schools system, some parents and critics are calling for a state audit to help determine whether the Huntsville City Schools system is adequately performing.
The Huntsville Schools System has been plagued by a series of health and safety concerns since it was created in the 1990s.
The system has also faced a growing number of problems with the way the district is run.
The number of suspensions has increased from 1,835 to 2,564 in the last three years.
And some parents have complained that they have not been given timely and meaningful information about the schools that they wish to send their children to.
Critics of the system have said the Hunts-Madison County Schools district has done nothing to address safety concerns.
In a press conference this week, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle announced the Hunts County School System will be the target of a statewide audit.
But critics have criticized the city and school system for not doing enough to address the problems.
On Wednesday, the state Department of Education announced the audit will look at how the HuntsVILLE Schools system performs, how many students are attending schools, the performance of district staff, and whether it has a plan for fixing problems in the future.
For years, the Hunts Schools system has been the focus of controversy because of allegations of high rates of suspensions and the district’s lack of adequate information about students attending schools.
While there is no official data to compare Huntsville with other cities in Alabama, many of the complaints about the system stem from the high rates at the school district.
During the 2016-2017 school year, the district reported 4,051 suspensions for students in grades 4 through 12, according to a report from the state department of education.
Over that same time period, the county had 2,891 suspensions, according the report.
When Huntsville became Huntsville County Schools District, the school system’s enrollment had dropped from 3,923 to 3,826 students, according records obtained by AL.com.
By comparison, the total enrollment of the city of Huntsville was 4,928 students, which includes the district and the Hunts High School.
Huntsville officials have maintained the numbers are low compared to other large urban school districts because the city’s population is so large.
A school district spokesman said the district plans to complete the audit by March, but he did not provide details.
One of the biggest concerns that have been raised by parents and students over the past several years is the school systems lack of accountability.
Parents and students say the school board, which is made up of Hunts residents, has not taken the time to make sure the students they send to school are safe and are receiving the right education.
The board’s response has been to delay and change the curriculum for the past two years, with the exception of the last two years when some students attended classes in Huntsville for free.
“I’m not sure how you can have a school system that’s supposed to be a model for other school systems, that’s a model of accountability,” said Joe Riggs, a parent of a student at the Hunts Education Center.
Many parents say the lack of information about schools has not only affected their children but also affected their confidence in their school district and district leadership.
There are also concerns about whether the system has a good safety plan in place to ensure that students are receiving good instruction, and that students who are removed from the district do not get re-admitted.
More from the Hunts NewsCenter: Huntsville school board begins public hearings on Huntsville’s charter school reforms.
Huntsville teacher fired for giving students a ride home after shooting report.
Hunts County district hires top lawyer to investigate allegations against school district leader.
Hunts, Madison, Montgomery school districts announce new school funding plan.
Hunts High Schools to close for the year, and what that means for students.