Analysis: Montgomery intervention failing despite local support

September 17, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

There is a misconception with the state takeover of Montgomery Public Schools.

Everyone seems to think that MPS officials don’t want it.

That’s untrue.

Board members made it clear this week that even those who are currently actively engaged in an ongoing AEA lawsuit against the intervention are open to it continuing after the resignation last week of Michael Sentance.

And that fact, probably more than any other, is a perfect example of the complicated chore an intervention – especially one in a large district – is, and how poorly Sentance managed the one in Montgomery.
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Alabama Supreme Court halts refunds to public education employees

September 13, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Supreme Court has put a hold on the return of millions of dollars to state educators while the justices consider an appeal of a ruling that deemed Public Education Employees Health Insurance Plan premium increases illegal.

Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Johnny Hardwick ruled in August that a meeting of the PEEHIP board in April 2016, at which members voted to raise premiums, was held illegally. That meant that the premium increases paid in by all PEEHIP members – some $60 million – would have to be returned.

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They’re trying to save Michael Sentance — again

September 12, 2017
Alabama Superintendent Michael Sentance

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

There is a last-ditch effort to – again – save Michael Sentance.

The beleaguered state superintendent is expected to be fired on Thursday at a meeting of the Alabama Board of Education. His termination is so assured that calls have been placed to potential interim and acting  superintendent candidates.

But not if the anti-Common Core crowd holds any sway.

Over the last few days, email blasts have gone out to state politicians and board of education members from an anti-common core group. Members of that group have also been calling board members and Gov. Kay Ivey’s office.

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Sentance is having money problems

August 29, 2017

Larry Lee
Education Matters

News that the State Department of Education’s projected operating budget for next year presently has a deficit of $8,028,074 fell on board members like an anvil last week.

Andy Craig is the chief money man for the Department.  He revealed that at the moment, the projected budget has receipts of $30,100,000–but expenses of $38,128,074.

Much of this shortfall is attributed to Sentance’s habit of hiring administrators at six-figure salaries like a drunk sailor spends money on shore leave.  For example, the present budget shows personnel expenses of $23,581,134.  This jumps to $26,495,799 next year.  Compounding the problem is that there are a number of vacant slots now at ALSDE.  There are seven jobs in Career Tech that have not been filled.

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EXCLUSIVE: Pope deposition indicates ALSDE collusion, smear campaign

August 2, 2017

By Bill Britt and Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

A deposition given by the Alabama State Department of Education’s Chief Information Security Officer appears to substantially support a report provided by a staff attorney that found a willful attempt by certain ALSDE staff and a State School Board member to smear a superintendent candidate.

A full copy of the deposition of chief security officer David Pope, taken in May, was obtained by APR. It has never been released to the public and ALSDE denied numerous requests from APR for a copy of the report.
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Amid turmoil at Department of Education, Dial’s Joint Legislative Committee will meet today

July 25, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

The special Joint Legislative Committee that’s investigating possible misconduct surrounding the Board of Education’s selection of State Superintendent Michael Sentance last year will meet later today to resume its inquiry into the controversy embroiling the State Department of Education.

The Committee is investigating an ethics complaint leak intended to smear superintendent candidate Craig Pouncey and deny him a fair chance at being the superintendent. A report authored by the Board’s General Counsel, Michael Meyer, which was obtained last month by APR, found that five individuals conspired to “malign Pouncey” and prevent his selection by filing and later leaking the erroneous complaint.

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Dial’s “laundry list” of who will appear in Pouncey smear investigation

July 18, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

A “laundry list” of political figures and State employees received a letter on July 17, from Senator Gerald Dial requesting their appearance on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, at 1:00 pm, to investigate the false ethics complaints filed against Dr. Craig Pouncey.

The letter states, “I write to you in my role as Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee to Investigate Confidentiality Issues Involving Complaints Filed with the State Ethics Commission which was created pursuant to Act 2016-456 (SJR 6).”
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ALSDE not turning over key evidence in Meyer’s investigation

July 12, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

A deposition, which serves as the basis of the final report that details efforts to smear Dr. Craig Pouncey and deny him a fair chance at being selected State Superintendent of the Department of Education, is being withheld by the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE).

Over ten days ago, The Alabama Political Reporter (APR), under the Alabama Open Records Act, requested the sworn deposition of ALSDE’s Chief Information Security Officer, David Pope.
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No one is safe: Lawyer who uncovered Pouncey smear is now a target of similar campaign

June 29, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a scheme to derail the candidacy of Dr. Craig Pouncey for the job of State Superintendent, now threatens to crush the man tasked with investigating the smear campaign.

Apparently, corruption is written into the DNA of the Department of Education. Every year, hundreds of millions of federal and state tax dollars pour into Alabama’s education system, but the State remains near or at the bottom of the heap by every legitimate metric.
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Source: Sentance doubts Meyer report, unhappy with general counsel

June 27, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Top State Department of Education officials didn’t agree with a recent report finding a conspiracy to smear a Superintendent candidate, leading superintendent Michael Sentance to seek a review of that report, a source told APR.

That source said Sentance was not alone in wanting a review of a report produced by ALSDE attorney Michael Meyer. In fact, the person said, a majority of people who heard the report suggested that the evidence presented didn’t fit the conclusion that five people, including a former interim superintendent, a state school board member and three staff attorneys, conspired to ruin Craig Pouncey’s candidacy.
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