By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
The first official step in the takeover of the Montgomery County School System will come Thursday, when State School Board members will vote to approve a takeover plan that will leave some management of MPS schools with the local board, sources familiar with the process have told APR.
At a meeting Monday between State Superintendent Michael Sentance, some State School Board members and members of the Montgomery County Board of Education, Sentance laid out two options for MPS: either school board members could cooperate with the takeover and retain some control of the district’s non-priority schools while the State managed the 23 priority (or failing) MPS schools, or the board could approach the takeover in an adversarial manner, in which case the State would implement a full takeover and shut out the board.
Board members unanimously selected the first option, sources said.
However, the control maintained by the Montgomery board won’t be much. Sentance told those in the meeting that all personnel decisions, including routine hiring and firing decisions, would have to be approved by him. The State board will also implement its own plan for managing the district, which the local board will be required to follow.
APR first reported the State takeover in Montgomery last week. It comes on the heels of Montgomery city leaders requesting help from Sentance and the Alabama Department of Education in dealing with a rising number of schools that are failing to achieve state minimum requirements.
State scores on recent ACT Aspire tests show 8 of 10 Montgomery students are not meeting State averages and some schools in the district scored zero in the number of students who tested “college ready” in math and/or science.
At a board meeting last week, Montgomery school board members were provided an overlook of the proposed takeover. Most board members seemed receptive to the idea.