Birmingham, Ala. Schools Spiral Into Disarray
When last we left the Birmingham, Ala., school district, it had just been taken over by the state because the school board could not come to agreement on a package of cuts and firings required to put the school system on more solid financial footing. The state also appointed a former state schools chief to be the district's chief financial officer, and he promised to make the cuts that the school board had not been able to make. About 200 employees would lose their jobs or be demoted under the cost-cutting plan.
- The school board responded by firing its superintendent, Craig Witherspoon, on July 17,(also changing the locks on the door and deactivating the access cards used by state intervention members);
- A county judge approved a temporary restraining order reinstating Witherspoon on July 18;
- A second county judge ordered the board to stop interfering with the state's takeover of the school system;
- State Superintendent of Education Thomas R. Bice told the board July 20 he or his designee will be leading all Birmingham school board meetings for the time being;
- And it's still unclear if the school system will open as currently scheduled on Aug. 20, because of staffing changes yet to be implemented.
The first board meeting under the new state-run leadership will be tomorrow, according to a memo from Bice, the state schools chief. What will happen next? Stay tuned. ...