Category: Birmingham City Schools
The Birmingham City Council has allocated $805,000 toward increasing the Jones Valley Teaching Farm’s presence in Birmingham City Schools.
The money will go toward the nonprofit’s wide-reaching Good School Food educational program, which is intended to foster skills in and appreciation for farming and the culinary arts in BCS students. The new funding will expand the JVTF’s capacity to host field trips and weeklong camps and will expand JVTF’s internship and apprenticeship programs. Read more.
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.
Alabama only has to provide bus access for families that live within two miles of their school, which leaves some families having to walk in dangerous conditions. Birmingham City Schools is trying to add new routes to address these concerns. Read more.
The Birmingham Board of Education on Tuesday approved a $506,988,421 budget that includes pay increases for all employees and establishes a $15 minimum hourly pay rate. The 2023 budget also includes additional pre-kindergarten classes, six new school psychologists and adjustments in the teacher salary schedule to make pay more competitive with surrounding school districts, according to a news release from the board. Read more.
The Birmingham City Council has set an April 19 public hearing on its proposed redistricting plan, which will likely culminate in a vote despite concerns from some councilors that the timing of the redistricting’s implementation could be interpreted as voter disenfranchisement.
Municipal law requires the city to draw new district lines after each federal census, which happens every 10 years, to make sure that population is roughly balanced among the nine districts, which each elect representatives to the City Council and the school board.
Due to delays caused by COVID, the council didn’t receive the 2020 census results until earlier this year, even though there was an election in fall 2021. Some councilors, such as Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, expressed concerns over the timing of the new map’s implementation. For the changes to be made so early in a four-year term, O’Quinn said, “would essentially nullify (voters’) participation” in the 2021 election. Read more.
Some Birmingham City Schools employees staged a sickout this week to bring attention to their concerns with how COVID-19 is being dealt with in their schools. Read more.
Karlos Dansby had one more reason to be thankful this Black Friday morning when he learned that the Birmingham Board of Education had accepted the bid to build a football stadium and fieldhouse on the campus of Woodlawn High School.
“Without a doubt, I’m thankful,” said Dansby, a 2000 alumnus of Woodlawn who went on to play at Auburn University before playing in the National Football League. “Happy Thanksgiving to everybody and I look forward to seeing this project come to life.”
The board of education on Tuesday unanimously approved a bid of $8.7 million with Argo Building Company for a new stadium and fieldhouse at Woodlawn High. Work on the project is expected to be completed in fall 2022.
It initially rejected the bid Nov. 9 with five members voting no, two voting yes and one abstaining after the estimated base project cost more than doubled from the initial $4.2 million estimate. Read more.
Just shy of four months after the ceremonial groundbreaking, the Birmingham Board of Education Tuesday rejected the bid to build a stadium and fieldhouse on the campus of Woodlawn High School.
Five board members — Leticia Watkins, James A. Sullivan, Derrick L. Billups, Neonta Williams and Jason Meadows — voted against approval of the bid. Walt Wilson and Sonja Smith voted in favor with Sherman Collins Jr. and Mary Boehm abstaining.
The stadium had been trumpeted as a major boost to Woodlawn High School, one of just two Birmingham City Schools that does not have an on-campus stadium. The other, Ramsay High, is landlocked.
“I would like for us to start the project over, bringing as much information as we have to the forefront in the beginning,” Watkins said. “If the cost of the materials has gone up at that time, I don’t think there’s a question about what we’re willing to invest in our young people and we’re willing to make this happen for them. We just want the process to be better.”
The initial base estimate on the project was $4.2 million. Architect Charles Williams said the revised estimate is $8.7 million. Read more.
This week, the Birmingham City board of education welcomes six new members — a mix of former educators, business professionals and education advocates — making more than half the board new.
With an extra $185 million in federal pandemic relief funding, the new board will have a lot more money to address issues in Birmingham City Schools than previous boards. Those issues include still dealing with COVID-19 and learning loss in the classroom as well as student mental health.
The school board works with the superintendent and oversees the $160 million budget. Its members are often the first point of contact for parents, teachers and students with issues or concerns. Here’s what incoming, returning, and outgoing board members told WBHM they’re watching for from the newly elected school board. Read more.