Birmingham BOE election preview - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Birmingham BOE election preview

Posted: Updated:
BIRMINGHAM - AL -

The August 27 election has been called one of the most critical in recent memory.

Many say the future of Birmingham City Schools and its children hang in the balance.

Years of turmoil and a two year probation have the school system at a tipping point.  Now, voters will decide whether there will be new faces on the school board.

State superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice says the turmoil within the Birmingham Board of Education could of been avoided.

"If we can have the board take on those responsibilities that are specific to the board and allow the superintendent (Dr. Craig Witherspoon) and his staff to do the things they are charged to do, then we'll be fine," says Bice.

Throughout the years, board members have not worked well with the superintendent. The most recent being Dr. Craig Witherspoon.

In June 2012 the state intervened, naming Dr. Ed Richardson the board's chief financial officer.

That didn't stop former board president, Edward Maddox from attempting to fire Dr. Witherspoon.

The public display of insubordination did not go unnoticed.

In May, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) brought in a special review team.

The findings in the report were enough to put Birmingham City Schools on accredited probation for two years. Citing "governance and leadership issues" as the reason.  

Some of the accusations of the board of education listed in the report:

-"Acting independently and undermining the authority of the superintendent in his role."

-"Being more loyal to their individual districts than to the school system."

-"Meddling in the day-to-day operation of the system."

-"Having an inability and unwillingness to look beyond their own interests and those of the neighborhood they represent."
 
Bice says the report confirmed what the state board already knew, prior to the takeover

"I wasn't really surprised, because as much as we had advanced so many things over the last year since we've intervened in Birmingham City Schools. We've still been faced with some of the governance issues, that were the reason we got there. Not by the whole board but by certain members of the board," says Bice.

SACS will conduct another review in February.  If the issues do not improve by then, SACS could pull the system's accreditation.

"It gives this board another opportunity, with very dire circumstances if they don't, to get their act together, get on board, focus on children, focus on education. Put the politics aside, and move their strategic plan forward," says Bice. "It is in their court, it has been very clearly stated what the results will be if that does not occur."

Board president April Williams said the board takes this matter seriously.

"Unfortunately, none of that information was new," says Williams. "We've been working to try and overcome that. This isn't my first term but this has definitely been the most difficult."

Williams says to make the system work, this upcoming election is crucial.

"It's a combined effort, people vote, the actual candidates have to perform," Williams said.

Attempts to reach superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon several times in regards to this story and the Birmingham Board of Education. None of which were successful.

But on August 27, Dr. Tommy Bice says the people have a chance to have their voices heard.

"This is for the people of Birmingham to decide," says Bice. "It needs to be looked at very strategically. And realize that the future of Birmingham public schools and the ability for them to retain and maintain local control over that school system is vital to the school board moving in the right direction. So, it's a big choice."

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Fire danger rises for Labor Day weekend

    Fire danger rises for Labor Day weekend

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:59 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:59:40 GMT
    Our recent dry weather has created the perfect conditions for fire danger. More >>
    Our recent dry weather has created the perfect conditions for fire danger. More >>
  • Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:32 PM EDT2014-08-29 23:32:28 GMT
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
  • Hackleburg High School preps for first home game in three years

    Friday, August 29 2014 4:57 PM EDT2014-08-29 20:57:25 GMT
    Tonight is a homecoming three years in the making for Hackleburg High School. The team takes the field tonight in their new stadium, finally completed after an E-F five tornado destroyed it on April 27, 2011.It is sure to be a packed house at Ray Stadium as the Hackleburg panthers take on Marion County, tonight at 7:00 p.m. This is going to be an emotional night, not only for the school, but for the community as well. "This is going to be an emotional game, an emotional crowd. This field ho...More >>
    Tonight is a homecoming three years in the making for Hackleburg High School. The team takes the field tonight in their new stadium, finally completed after an E-F five tornado destroyed it on April 27, 2011.It is sure to be a packed house at Ray Stadium as the Hackleburg panthers take on Marion County, tonight at 7:00 p.m. This is going to be an emotional night, not only for the school, but for the community as well. "This is going to be an emotional game, an emotional crowd. This field ho...More >>
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • Rescue workers digging to save man buried in a hole (update)

    Rescue workers digging to save man buried in a hole (update)

    Saturday, August 30 2014 7:12 PM EDT2014-08-30 23:12:21 GMT
    Birmingham Fire and Rescue units are on the scene of an accident where a man has been buried in a hole.More >>
    Birmingham Fire and Rescue units are on the scene of an accident where a man has been buried in a hole.More >>
  • City Council to get update on education in Birmingham

    City Council to get update on education in Birmingham

    Friday, August 29 2014 8:55 PM EDT2014-08-30 00:55:45 GMT
    The Birmingham City Council is hosting a lunch meeting with the Birmingham Board of Education to discuss the current state and direction of the Birmingham City Schools. The meeting will be held Tuesday, September 2, 2014 from 12:45 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Regions Bank in the Executive Dining Room."We want to make sure that as a council we are engaged in all aspects of development for our city," Council President Jonathan Austin said. "It is very important that are continually updated on areas such ...More >>
    The Birmingham City Council is hosting a lunch meeting with the Birmingham Board of Education to discuss the current state and direction of the Birmingham City Schools. The meeting will be held Tuesday, September 2, 2014 from 12:45 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Regions Bank in the Executive Dining Room."We want to make sure that as a council we are engaged in all aspects of development for our city," Council President Jonathan Austin said. "It is very important that are continually updated on areas such ...More >>
  • Exclusive: Birmingham beats out Miami for DOT conference

    Exclusive: Birmingham beats out Miami for DOT conference

    Friday, August 29 2014 6:34 PM EDT2014-08-29 22:34:48 GMT
    ABC 33/40 has learned that the City of Birmingham beat out Miami for a DOT conference. A date for the conference has yet to be scheduled but hosting such an event gives the city an opportunity to solicit federal funding for transportation projects throughout the metro. Count on us to pass along any new information as soon as we get it.More >>
    ABC 33/40 has learned that the City of Birmingham beat out Miami for a DOT conference. A date for the conference has yet to be scheduled but hosting such an event gives the city an opportunity to solicit federal funding for transportation projects throughout the metro. Count on us to pass along any new information as soon as we get it.More >>
  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:45 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:45:16 GMT
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
  • Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:22 PM EDT2014-08-29 03:22:34 GMT
    Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
  • Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:37 AM EDT2014-08-28 15:37:31 GMT
    William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...