Category: Education

Birmingham Council Delays BSC Funding Decision Until at Least Mid-April

The Birmingham City Council needs more questions answered before it will officially lend its support to the financially struggling Birmingham-Southern College.

A “resolution of intent” on the agenda for Tuesday’s council meeting would have seen the city promise to provide financial support to BSC — if the college could also secure binding funding commitments from the state of Alabama and the Jefferson County Commission.
But some councilors were reluctant to make that commitment without further discussions with college administrators first.

BSC President Daniel Coleman has said the board of trustees must decide the college’s future by the end of March to give students time to decide where to transfer and help faculty and staff make plans for their future. Read more.

BSC Prez ‘Disappointed’ Legislature Didn’t Approve Funding but Will Continue Push to Stay Open

Birmingham-Southern College President Daniel B. Coleman acknowledged “disappointment” that the Alabama Legislature opted not to spend some of the state’s $1 billion-plus allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act to keep the financially troubled liberal arts college open.  

BSC officials had hoped the Legislature would tap ARPA funds to throw a lifeline to the school, which revealed late last year that the campus could close as early as this year due to years of financial stress coming to a head. The private college is now asking for $37.5 million in public money — $30 million from the state and $7.5 million from the local government — to keep its doors open. Read more. 

City Relinquishes Power Over Old Powell School, Raising Concerns About Historic Preservation

After a contentious discussion, the Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to relinquish its interest in the historic Powell School building, which has been vacant for more than two decades.

Though developers of the property told councilors that historic preservation is their priority, they expressed doubts that they’d be able to save most of the 134-year-old structure. Now, with the city stepping out of the way, they won’t be compelled to.

Councilors split over the discussion. District 3 Councilor Valerie Abbott said she was “aghast” at the idea of “giving the property away” to a developer with no guarantee of historical preservation.

Mayor Randall Woodfin retorted that it made less sense to leave the dilapidated school building standing. “It is clear blight,” he said. Read more.

JeffCo Funding for BSC Would Be ‘Very Difficult,’ Commission President Says

Jimmie Stephens said Tuesday that it is very difficult to give public dollars to a private institution.  

The Jefferson County Commission president was asked by media after Tuesday’s committee meeting whether there was any update on Jefferson County possibly allotting funds to help Birmingham-Southern College, the private liberal arts college in Birmingham’s Bush Hills Neighborhood.  

“Our position hasn’t changed,” he said. “The county has not considered that and I don’t know that they have any plans to.  

“I can say at this time, based on our past pattern and practices, that it is very difficult to give public dollars to a private institution,” Stephens said. “If that were to happen, it would be something that we’ve never done before.”   Read more.