Category: Birmingham City Schools
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.
Two members of the Birmingham Board of Education, including President Daagye Hendricks, were defeated in Tuesday’s election, and a third incumbent was forced into a runoff.
Challenger Derrick Billups got 55% of the votes to oust District 4 member and board President Daagye Hendricks.
District 2 incumbent Terri Michal fell to Neonta Williams, who collected 56% of the vote in the two-candidate field.
In District 1, challenger Sherman Collins Jr. narrowly led incumbent Douglas Lee Ragland in a three-way race, but neither got a majority and they will meet in a runoff Oct. 5. Each got 43% of the vote, with Collins leading by 13 votes.
UPDATED AUG. 6: Leaders with several school systems in the area have decided that students, faculty and visitors must wear masks in school facilities.
So far, Birmingham, Bessemer, Fairfield, Homewood and now Hoover schools have decided to require masks. Jefferson County Schools have decided to make masks optional in schools this year. Read more.
Home games will truly be home games in the near future for the Woodlawn High School football team, following a ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday for a new, on-campus stadium at the historic Birmingham school.
“This right here is instrumental for our student athletes, and our community, to have our own home field right here on our campus,” Principal Terrell Brown said. “We’re going to continue the tradition that has been started from many great athletes.”
Architects say construction will start this fall, and the stadium is expected to be ready for the for the 2022 football season. It is designed to accommodate more than 2,800 spectators, and it will include an artificial turf athletic field, renovated field house and a stadium lighting and sound system.
Birmingham City Schools and Alabama Regional Medical Services will be giving COVID-19 vaccinations to city school students and their parents over the summer in an effort to make schools and their communities safer when they reopen in the fall.
Birmingham city school students will return to in-person classes two days a week beginning Nov. 9. Read more.