North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

January 14, 2014

Letter from Mt. Olive Elementary principal sparks firestorm, response from superintendent

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

MT. OLIVE — A controversial letter sent home to students by the principal of Mt. Olive Elementary School on Monday sparked a firestorm of reaction from some parents, especially those with strong feelings one way or the other about the community’s possible annexation into Gardendale.

The letter, signed by principal Judy Sullivan, said that the Jefferson County Board of Education “convened last week to address the zoning issue of Mount Olive students.” However, a spokesperson for the board said that no such meeting had taken place. Central office personnel were also unaware of the letter until notified by The North Jefferson News.

The letter went on to say that all of the school’s students would feed into Mortimer Jordan High after Gardendale opens its new breakaway school system.

Sullivan said in the letter that she was asked by her supervisor, Deputy Supt. Dr. Anna Vacca, to notify parents of the move.

Supt. Dr. Stephen Nowlin issued a statement Tuesday that did not address the letter itself, but said in part, “The number of displaced students and general areas in which they live will affect future attendance boundaries and the potential need for a new school to house displaced students. As a result of this process, several months will elapse before we can finally determine future changes to our county school attendance zones.”

Students from the elementary school currently move on to three separate feeder paths that lead to Gardendale High School, Mortimer Jordan and Corner.