Tag: Birmingham city schools

Birmingham Schools Announce Online-Only Learning for First 9 Weeks

UPDATED — Dr. Mark Sullivan announced in a Wednesday press conference that all Birmingham City Schools would be starting the school year virtually on Aug. 24. Sullivan, the interim superintendent for BCS, made the announcement with Birmingham Board of Education members.

All learning will be online for the first nine-week grading period. BCS will evaluate the safety of returning to in-person learning after that.

“This decision was not made lightly, but at this juncture I believe it is our best option to assure the quality of education that we have for our students and to maintain a safe, nurturing environment for all of our students,” Sullivan said. Read more.

Birmingham Superintendent Lisa Herring Stepping Down to Lead Atlanta Public Schools

Birmingham school Superintendent Lisa Herring is leaving to become superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. She is expected to remain head of Birmingham City Schools through the end of May, at which point she will return to her home state of Georgia.

The Birmingham school system announced Tuesday Herring has been named the “sole finalist” for the post in Atlanta.
Read more.

Education Town Hall Set for Jan. 15

A town hall meeting on the status of education in Birmingham has been set for Jan. 15, 6-8 p.m. State Reps. Mary Moore and John Rogers, both D-Birmingham, set the town hall, called “Where Do We Go From Here.” Moore said a number of local and state Board of Education members as well as local and state elected officials have been invited to speak.

One Birmingham City Council Seat Goes to a Runoff; Two Incumbents Returned to the Council

One Birmingham City Council seat will be up for a runoff after none of the candidates won more than 50 percent of the votes in Tuesday’s balloting. See full results here.

Wardine Towers Alexander will face Ray Brooks on Nov. 19 in a runoff for the council District 7 seat. Alexander won 42.41% of the vote to challenger Ray Brooks’ 30.88%.

Two other races were decided Tuesday. Crystal Smitherman will return as council District 6 councilor, having garnered 51.50% of the vote in a seven-candidate field. In the District 1 race, Clifton Woods will return to the council, with 71.27% of the vote in his district.

The three propositions to renew separate ad valorem taxes all passed by wide margins, with those voting yes in each race amounting to about 90%.

Reporting of full results was delayed until Wednesday because of an error in the handling of electronic machine memory cards at three different precincts.

The cards from the Martha Gaskins School, Robinson Elementary School and Five Points West precincts were sealed inside boxes that contained the paper ballots filled out by voters. Officials with the Birmingham City Clerk’s office had to get a court order Wednesday morning to allow them to open the box and add those votes to the total. Read more.

Birmingham Votes Today on School Taxes, Three Council Seats

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.

Megachurch Presence in Birmingham Schools Sparks Tension

WBHM

Church of the Highlands, Alabama’s biggest megachurch, has expanded into the inner city, leasing space at two Birmingham schools. But there’s been pushback in the community, some of it highlighting a racial divide.

The Birmingham Board of Education recently renewed the church’s lease for three more years at Parker High School and another campus at Woodlawn High for about $1 million combined. Read more.

Woodfin Discusses Plan for Free College Tuition to City Graduates

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin on Wednesday discussed his plan to offer Birmingham City Schools graduates the chance to go to a public two-year or four-year school in Alabama tuition-free. He tweeted a reminder Tuesday of the program announced in May.

Even Presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders took notice. Read more.

Harvard Training Leads to Action Plans for BCS

Birmingham City Schools administrators who participated in Harvard University’s Public Leadership Project presented the school board with actions they’ve implemented as a result of attending the program.

In the Aug. 13 board meeting, the team cited the district’s troubled history of superintendent turnover, inconsistent instructional guidelines and poorly defined roles for principals as instructional leaders as the reason 72% of the schools currently score “D” and “F” on the state Educational Report Card. The team identified five strategies for improving schools to a “C” grade or higher by 2023. Read more.