Judge rules in favor of State Takeover - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Judge rules in favor of State Takeover

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A Jefferson County judge rules in favor off the state's takeover of Birmingham City Schools. Judge Houston Brown's ruling came down Monday afternoon saying the State takeover will continue and local Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon will keep his job.

Board CFO Dr. Ed Richardson says "He weighed the evidence and he confirmed what I already knew. This is a state supported form of public education and the State Superintendent and the State Board of Education are really the ultimate authorities."

Dr. Richardson says it's time to move forward now that Judge Brown ruled in a favor of the State's takeover of the Birmingham City School System.

It's a decision Mayor William Bell also supports.  "I think it brings clarity and that's what we need. The situation with the B.O.E., it needs clarity and whose in control and make sure whatever is decided is for the children."

The ruling says the State has the right to implement policies and the school board cannot override their decisions. It also keeps Superintendent Craig Witherspoon at the helm after board members voted him out.

Dr. Witherspoon says "I don't see that the connection has been lost. I continue to communicate with the board via email updates, via telephone calls both ways. If the board members have concerns they can call me."

Board member Brian Giattina has this to say. "It's a positive day for the City of Birmingham. I think we now have a clear direction and we can put this issue behind us." Richardson says another big step will happen by December first when they move forward with the second phase of the reduction plan. He says it will hopefully move Birmingham's financial situation to meet the minimum requirements of the state.

State Superintendent Tommy Bice will once again convene Tuesday's board meeting at 5:30.  Dr. Richardson says there are still things that need to be done with this process, including finishing an investigation into the board's actions.