State adopts financial plan at Birmingham Board of Education - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

State adopts financial plan at Birmingham Board of Education

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

 

Nearly 200 Birmingham teachers and staff members are now without work. The State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice presided over Tuesday's Birmingham Board of Education meeting passing the state's proposed requirements and adopting a new policy for future job cuts.

This is a plan the state has tried to put in place since it took over the district. Interest in this meeting was so large, the line to get in backed up all the way out to the sidewalk.

Security inside the board of education was tight.  Everyone walked through metal detectors and officers and state troopers lined the walls. And an even more noticeable difference - State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice presided over the meeting.

"Under state intervention our ultimate goal is to return the governance to the local level as soon as possible," Dr. Tommy Bice, State Superintendent said.

Following Dr. Ed Richardson's report, the board voted on the state financial plan - 2 in favor, 2 against, and 2 abstained. But because the state is now in charge of this board, Dr. Bice passed it.

"I hereby exercise my authority at the state board of education...And approve the recommended act," Dr. Bice said from the microphone.

That motion means the loss of about 200 teaching and staff positions - there was little support from the board.

"I am concerned about them having no nurses assigned to a particular school because there are some schools where students are on feeding tubes," Virginia Volker, a board member commented.

"We will make sure, because we are not sure where students need to be, that those resources are redistributed where the needs are," Dr. Bice responded. "I can give you my word on that."

State leaders also revised the school board's policy on demotions. As it stands now, employees who are moved to a lower paying position can keep their salary for one year. But starting October 1st, those salaries will be immediately reduced.

"The fact remains there are 800 fewer students in the school system this year than there was last year," Dr. Bice said. "Based on last years numbers, and we have no idea what that will look like when school starts, so when that occurs, you have to reduce staff. No one wants that to be the case."

Dr. Ann Curry - Principal at Avondale Elementary school told us, her campus is losing several teachers but says these changes aren't necessarily a bad thing.

"We've been on a downward slide for some time," She said. "Today I see as the first steps toward getting to the top of the slide again."

State Representative John Rogers doesn't see it that way.

"How can you save money on the backs of low paid people like $35,000, $25,000, $15,000 dollars a  year?" Rogers said.

Because the school board did not pass these changes sooner, the start date for school has been in limbo.  But Tuesday, Dr. Bice approved class to begin on it's original start date--August 20th.