State Takes Over Birmingham City School System

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — After failing to compromise and make cuts, Birmingham City Schools are being taken over by the state.

The move came after Birmingham school board members failed to reach an agreement on a debt reduction plan Tuesday night.  The Alabama Department of Education is now working to take over the school system’s finances.

The district currently has $2 million in reserves, but the law requires $17 million.

Former State Superintendent Ed Richardson headed the state team that investigated the board.  On Wednesday, he was also named chief financial officer of the school system during the takeover period.  Dr. Richardson said that could last two years. 

“Any of us want someone to come in here and take care of my business? I don’t want someone telling me what to do, and I’m sure that’s the same in Birmingham, but that was clearly on the table,” said Dr. Richardson on Tuesday night. “I made that statement on behalf of the state superintendent. They chose to shoot it down. That’s their prerogative as a board, and now it’s up to the state board.”

Dr. Richardson said some members of the school board have lost touch with the real reason they were elected.

Birmingham’s school start date could be delayed by as much as two weeks because of the takeover, according to some reports.