Birmingham schools plan for phase two of state takeover - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Birmingham schools plan for phase two of state takeover

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By next Fall, there will be fewer schools in the City of Birmingham.

As part of phase two of the state takeover, the state intervention team will recommend what schools should close to the Birmingham Board of Education. The news has many parents already on edge.

State appointed school board financial officer, Dr. Ed Richardson, says schools will be closing, possibly up to ten. Right now a team is collecting data to help decide a number. Many parents are already worried about the outcome.

"It's gonna be a big change if they do that." Richardson said.

Sabrina Gamble worries where her son Jaylen will attend school next year.

"Knowing they're closing some of the schools, his school may be the one." she said.

Gamble and other parents hope to have a say in the matter. Tameka Forest says "It's kind of putting the children out of zone at the same time too. It's likely they got to go further than going to a school right up the street."

Dr. Ed Richardson says closing some schools could save around half a million or so dollars a year for operating costs. "We have about 15 or so middle schools, none of them are large enough to meet the minimum requirements of 400, they're all below 400. So we'll be looking at ideal size, attendance zones and numbers."

Richardson says up to 10 schools could close, but an exact number won't be decided until November.

Forest says "I understand closing some of the schools, but 8 to 10, that's too much."

The school board is working on accumulating a one month fund balance of 17 million dollars, so the state also wants to re-organize central office and maintenance as well as cut energy costs.

Richardson says "If we can find other ways to save money then it might be we wouldn't have to close as many schools, but right now we're looking at ways we can save money without releasing more people."

Richardson says teachers would be transferred to other schools. He says in January, they should be ready to announce which schools will close and the public will have a chance to react.

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