Category: Birmingham Board of Education
Though she insisted that she was “absolutely not here in my professional capacity,” Birmingham School Board President Daagye Hendricks addressed the Birmingham City Council on Tuesday, calling Mayor Randall Woodfin’s proposed FY 2021 budget “egregious” for cutting funding to city schools.
This year’s city budget is nearly $50 million smaller than last year’s budget, thanks to a sharp decline in the city’s business tax revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the $412 million budget’s many proposed austerity measures — which include funding cuts for external organizations and furloughs for hundreds of city employees — is a reduction of $1 million in city funding to Birmingham City Schools.
When Jeff Sessions arrived at Woodlawn High School for a Wednesday morning press conference, Dr. Terrell E. Brown, the school’s principal, was waiting for him in the parking lot.
The press conference couldn’t be held on school grounds, he said — but Sessions was welcome to move to a parking lot across the street. Sessions’ campaign staffers begrudgingly acquiesced. “Well, that’ll make it part of the story,” one staffer muttered as they lugged the podium across the busy street.
The former U.S. attorney general and current U.S. Senate candidate was in Woodlawn to express his outrage over recent decisions by the Birmingham Board of Education and the Birmingham Housing Authority to cut ties with Church of the Highlands after founding pastor Chris Hodges “liked” several social media posts by the politically conservative group Turning Point USA.
“This is a matter of real importance,” Sessions said. “It deals concretely with the right of free speech and free expression of religious values and to be able to have independent ideas outside your work environment.”
Birmingham’s school superintendent has “met expectations and goals for improvement” according to an evaluation presented at Tuesday’s board meeting.
On a 1 to 5 scale, Superintendent Lisa Herring received a 3.55 rating.
Two metrics were used in the evaluation: a rating based on benchmarks set out by the district’s strategic plan (3.36) and a cumulative score from board members (3.75). Those two scores were averaged to produce the final number. Read more.
Election officials are expecting a light turnout in today’s city election, which will decide the fate of three property taxes for schools and three seats on the City Council.
Most voters will have only the three ad valorem tax renewals on their ballots. Those taxes generate about 12% of the Birmingham City Schools’ budget.
Voters in City Council Districts 1, 6 and 7 also will have a choice of city councilors to represent them on their ballots. That’s almost half of the council seats up for grabs. Councilors representing those districts were appointed after the elected councilors resigned their positions. Under the Mayor-Council Act, appointed councilors may serve only until the next election.
If no candidate in the city council elections has more than 50% of the vote, then a runoff election between the top two vote-getters will be held Nov. 19.
Some city polling places have changed this year. If you are uncertain of your polling place, you can verify it at AlabamaVotes.gov. Voters who have questions or problems at their polling places can call the Birmingham City Clerk’s office at 205-254-2290.
BirminghamWatch’s city voter guide provides profiles of the candidates, an explanation of the school taxes, information about casting a ballot, links to sample ballots and a map of council districts. Read the city voter guide.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin announced Tuesday that the pilot program of his Birmingham Promise Education Initiative had been successfully completed, though he entreated members of the city’s business community to partner with the internship program as it expands. Read more.
Dec. 14, 2017 —The good news kept coming at Wednesday night’s Birmingham City Schools Board of Education meeting.
In addition to a city elementary school earning International Baccalaureate status and the system receiving more money in the city’s just-approved budget, Superintendent Lisa Herring and board members also enthused about new partnerships among Birmingham schools and businesses and nonprofits, and an “importance of education” tour by a high-achieving Woodlawn High School graduate. Read more.
At the first board meeting for most of its members, the Birmingham Board of Education Tuesday night approved a new instructional support position to work exclusively with students at 13 city schools on the state’s “failing” list.
Led by newly elected board President Cheri Gardner, the board also approved hiring a new English as a second language instructor to serve multiple schools and heard from Superintendent Lisa Herring about a five-stop Listening and Learning tour she plans over the next three weeks. Read more.