Birmingham BOE election District 3 - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Birmingham BOE election District 3

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

Nine people sit on the Birmingham Board of Education. Only one of them is assured a seat after the August 27 elections. 

District three's Brian Giattina is the only incumbent board member running unopposed.

Giattina believes this board has made improvements. But, he says this election is critical for the future of the school system and the children it serves.

"I think this is probably the most important election we've had in the last 20 to 30 years," he says.

Giattina says this election will set the tone for the future of the system. A system dealing with state intervention & accredited probation.

"The solutions to solve these problems are not hard, we can fix these Birmingham (city) schools.

During his first term on the school board, Giattina witnessed first hand the governance issues that landed the district on accredited probation last month.

His frustrations were evident last summer in the days before the state took over the system.

He tells me that was the moment he realize the board was not serving its purpose.

"We had reached a point where those board members would not understand our role and responsibility," says Giattina. "That is when I said to (state school superintendent) Dr. Tommy Bice, this is too critical. We are missing a generation of these kids. We have to have help."

In a report filed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a special review team cited board members, "Who are more loyal to their individual districts than to the school system."

Giattina says, that issue is one he takes personally.

"If I fight for every single thing in my school district, and I fight for everything for my school, and yet the 43 other schools are failing. We don't have a school system," he says. "We need people who are going to be elected who are going to say 'what is right for the school system'."

Giattina sees internal progress since the system was placed on probation.

"We've done more, realistically, in the last nine months than we have done in the last ten years," Giattina says. "State takeover is not where I want to be for the long term. But, if that's what it takes to get us some stability, I'm all for it."

State school superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice, told Focus at Four the board faces dire consequences if members don't get their act together.

Giattina gets the message loud and clear

"You have to have the board and the superintendent working in the same direction. That doesn't mean we have to go lock step and barrel on every single thing, that we are moving in the same direction and not fighting against each other," he says.

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