Councilman says city schools perception could hurt its survival

{}{}{}{} A Tuscaloosa City Councilman has been vocally critical of the City Schools.{}{} Lee Garrison is even loosely tossing around the idea of consolidation of the system into the County Schools System if the city schools perceived image doesn't change.

{}{} "We've got a lot of white people who are not letting their kids go to Tuscaloosa City Schools," Garrison told ABC 33/40 by phone Monday.

{}{}{} He says its not{}a racial issue but the racial makeup of{}schools in their individual districts do not represent the corresponding communities.{} "There are way too many students{}being bussed to{}out of their neighborhood zones to other schools where they don't live," explained{}Garrison.

{}{}{}But,{}Board Members Kelly Horwitz and Marvin{}Lucas struck back in an interview on Monday with ABC 33/40 saying{}a majority of the bussing occurred long before the new administration took place and after release from a court order which aimed to{}bring the Tuscaloosa{}City School system into 'Unitary' status.

{} Garrison says the practice is{}wreaking havoc on the school systems' image and he also insists the core curriculum is keeping advance students back and perhaps all of the issues combined are affecting test scores.{} "If one school is not making{}AYP, that's too many -- the way I see it."

{}{} Horwitz and Lucas though argued the board has{}made great strides in making{}the city schools more competitive.{} "All of the elementary schools last year {}in the Central Zone{}all of them made AYP," stressed Lucas and Horwitz echoed boards efforts, "We've increased student{}opportunities in AP courses," she said.

{}{}{} However, Garrison maintains public perception of the schools needs to change.{} He fears that if it does not by 2016, {}voters will likely reject renewal of a{}important property tax{} which is a major{}source of revenue for the school system.{}"They'll loose a lot of money.{} Its going to be a no confidence vote.{} Its [school system] improved over the last year but its public confidence level is still below 50%.

{}{} Both, Lucas and Horwitz say they were not aware of{} some issues Garrison raised but say they plan to meet with City Leaders in the coming days to discuss the matters.