Debate over formation of city school boards dominates Senate committee meeting

February 16, 2018

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

One committee meeting in the statehouse on Wednesday was met with debates over the qualifications to start a school board by city governments.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison, D-Birmingham, would raise the requirements for the formation of school boards by increasing the population requirement from 5,000 to 25,000.

It would also require the Alabama State Department of Education to determine if the city has a tax base to support the school system. Coleman-Madison, speaking at Wednesday’s Senate committee on Education and Youth Affairs meeting, said the bill was a cost saving measure.

Read More

Lawmakers request ALSDE give back $1.4 million to MPS after clerical error

February 9, 2018

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

State Reps. John Knight, D-Montgomery, and Thad McClammy, D-Montgomery, called on the Alabama State Department of Education to return $1.4 million that was mistakenly sent to another school district in a letter and press conference on Thursday.

Their complaint stems from a clerical error by the Alabama State Department of Education that sent $1.4 million to the Pike Road Schools instead of the Montgomery Pubic School System. The money, which was supposed to be returned in October, never manifested from the Pike Road Schools

Read More

AEA settlement gives some control back to Montgomery school board

January 5, 2018

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The Montgomery County School Board wrestled some control of its school system away from the Alabama State Department of Education on Thursday, by way of a settlement agreement reached in a lawsuit filed by the Alabama Education Association.

AEA sued the ALSDE on behalf of several employees who work within the Montgomery Public Schools system, alleging the state had violated its own rules when it took over the MPS system without a written plan and without outlining a shared system of governance that included the county board.

Read More

The Montgomery schools con game

December 21, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

There’s a con taking place in Montgomery.

OK, maybe I should be more specific, since cons aren’t exactly rare in this town.

Ed Richardson and the Alabama State Department of Education are conning you. The interim state schools superintendent has you watching the exploding card trick over there as he takes your watch over here.

Actually, it’s worse: He’s taking classroom teachers and school buildings over here — from a school district that is struggling and barely surviving and watching kids fall through the cracks every single day.

Read More

Analysis: Why a city-run school system is a bad idea for Montgomery

August 7, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The City of Montgomery is planning to study the idea of creating a city-operated school system, moving from the current county system.

It is nothing more than window dressing meant to appease the business community.

It is the latest in a long line of “fixes” for the troubled Montgomery Public Schools system, but like the rest of them – including the ongoing Alabama State Department of Education intervention – it ignores the root causes of the problems in favor of window dressing designed to fool outsiders that the school system is changing.

Read More

A further look at revelations in final report on scheme to smear Pouncey

June 26, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

A recently exposed internal investigation by the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), alleges five individuals devised a “scheme” in July of 2016, to deny Dr. Craig Pouncey a fair chance of being selected as the State Superintendent of the Department of Education.

The internal investigation also found that an unnamed individual or individuals participated in the plot to discredit Pouncey. At this time it is unclear who, other than the five people named in the report, may have colluded in the actions taken to derail Pouncey’s election. A statement by attorney Dennis Bailey at Wednesday’s Board meeting may reveal some tantalizing clues.
Read More

Alabama State Board of Education to hire outside attorney to address Meyer report

June 22, 2017

By Sam Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama State Board of Education decided on Wednesday to hire their own legal counsel after a report said a board member conspired to undermine a State Superintendent candidate.

Board Vice-President Yvette Richardson said the board itself is not under investigation but didn’t want to involve itself in the pending litigation against Alabama State Department of Education officials.

The board will hire their own legal counsel only regarding the report made by Michael Meyer, which implicates three department attorneys in a scheme to undermine Dr. Craig Pouncey’s bid for State Superintendent.
Read More

US Department of Education: Alabama’s high school graduation rates inaccurate

June 19, 2017

By Sam Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

A new report by the US Department of Education found that the Alabama State Department of Education did not accurately report its high school graduation rate for a period of 4 years.

The report comes from an audit the Federal department conducted looking at the 2013-2014 school year and covered the adjusted cohort graduation rate. This is the rate of people who graduate high school within a 4-year period.
Read More

Sentance at least deserves a fair shot

March 9, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Poor Michael Sentance.

For the better part of two hours on Wednesday afternoon, at a special called state school board meeting, Alabama’s schools chief was subjected to a barrage of complaints from the board members who serve as his boss.

The complaints ranged from the issues with communication between Sentance and the board to the Alabama State Department of Education’s website.

By the end, after two hours of apologies and contrition from Sentance, you couldn’t help but feel bad for the guy.
Read More

The beginning of the end for Michael Sentance?

March 8, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

“It’s a mess.”

That’s the way a longtime employee at the Alabama State Department of Education described the last few months since Michael Sentance took over as State Superintendent of schools in August.

That person was not alone in criticism of Sentance and his management style. At least a half-dozen employees or contract workers who have spent time at ALSDE under Sentance, who is originally from Massachusetts, described the atmosphere as a mixture of chaotic and paranoid, as Sentance has fought to wrestle control of the department from longtime officials and establish himself as the State’s top school official.
Read More

© Copyright 2017 Alabama Political Reporter