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Vestavia Hills School Discrimination Case Settled

By Associated Press

Vestavia Hills AL – A federal judge has approved a settlement that ends a long-standing desegregation case in Vestavia Hills.

Under a court order in the 30-year-old case, the school system has bused in students from Oxmoor Valley.

The school system filed a request to end the order in September 2006.

In July, the school board reached a settlement with a representative for Oxmoor Valley families that will enable currently enrolled Oxmoor Valley students and their siblings to complete their education in Vestavia Hills and will create 30 tuition-paying slots for additional Oxmoor Valley students over six years.

The settlement also includes measures for increasing recruitment of black teachers. Tuition was set for $2,430 for the current school year.

U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins approved the settlement Thursday.

School Superintendent Jamie Blair said Hopkins' ruling "proves and shows that we have complied and done everything that we were supposed to do."

Blair said the ruling will give the school system greater control over growth.

Theo Lawson, an Oxmoor Valley resident who is president of the Ridgeview Homeowners Association, said residents are not necessarily 100 percent satisfied with the agreement, but given the trend toward granting unitary status in school systems, they believed it was in their best interest to reach a settlement.

School systems are granted "unitary" status when they are found to have eliminated the vestiges of segregation to the extent practicable.

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