The downfall of Michael Sentance

July 23, 2017
Alabama Superintendent Michael Sentance

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

In the end, it was his inability to accurately assess the political landscape that will cost Michael Sentance his job as the State’s School Superintendent.

Yes, he made mistakes, such as consistently alienating teachers and local superintendents with poor communication. Yes, his department made serious gaffes, such as the too-early release of bad graduation rate info. Yes, he angered lawmakers with his decisions to enter the State Department of Education into costly consulting contracts. And yes, his uneven and inconsistent handling of the Montgomery intervention was a mess that has angered almost everyone on every side.
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Sources: State Board plans to fire Superintendent Michael Sentance

July 21, 2017
Alabama Superintendent Michael Sentance

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama State School Board plans to fire State Superintendent Michael Sentance, two source close to the board have told APR.

Those sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the board has not officially made a decision, said Tuesday’s meeting, at which board members will discuss an early evaluation of Sentance, is the first step in the process to terminate him.

On Thursday, al.com reported that the evaluation of Sentance – which comes at least three months before his scheduled annual evaluation – came as a surprise to some board members. Board Vice President Stephanie Bell sent the form this week and requested that all members fill out and return the evaluation form by the end of the day on Friday.
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Lawmakers “blackballed” over Autism bill

July 20, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The invitation list to the Business Council of Alabama’s annual summer party is four names shorter this year.

Sens. Dick Brewbaker, Cam Ward and Bill Holtzclaw, along with Rep. Jim Patterson, were all left off the list, Brewbaker said Wednesday. He called it being “blackballed” later on Twitter.

The party, which is actually dubbed the BCA’s Governmental Affairs Conference, is set to be held Aug. 11-13 at the its usual location – the Grand Hotel in Point Clear. It has become one of the largest gatherings of State Republicans – and a few Democrats – each year.
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A truly disgusting display

July 20, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Over the years, I have witnessed an incredible number of awful displays by elected or appointed public officials.

Pretty much any Roy Moore event qualifies. I was at a pep rally thrown by two dozen or so elected lawmakers for a guy who had just been indicted on 23 felonies. I also made it to Gov. Bentley’s last State of the State address – the one where his mistress sat in the balcony and cried while listening to the speech she not-so-secretly wrote.
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Montgomery residents “too stupid” for Siegelman documentary

July 19, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The Capri Theater won’t be showing the documentary, “Atticus v. the Architect: The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman,” because its members and the surrounding community are just too stupid.

They’re too stupid to separate fact from fiction.

They’re too stupid to understand that any documentary should be taken as only one source of information on a complicated and complex subject matter.

And they’re just too stupid to figure out some other way to see the film.
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Alabama voters need the pain

July 18, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The next US Senator from Alabama is probably going to be either Luther Strange, the current (appointed) seat holder, Roy Moore, or Rep. Mo Brooks.

I wish that were not the case. But I’ve seen the polling numbers. This is the reality.

Voters in this State will go to the polls and vote for either a guy who sold them out and shirked his sworn duty in order to be appointed to the seat, or a guy who has grandstanded his way to being booted from the Alabama Supreme Court twice, or a guy who deserves to be named Mo from Alabama.
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Attorney General opens “dark money” group

July 17, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Republican State’s Attorney General Steve Marshall launched a non-profit organization in May as part of his campaign plan to win the seat he now occupies, thanks to disgraced former Governor Robert Bentley, who appointed him. Bentley has the State’s most famous non-profit group, ACEGOV.

Under current law, candidates like Marshall can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money with limited restrictions using groups that operate in gray areas of the law, as noted by The Center for Public Integrity.
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Ivey: Bye, Bentley task forces

July 13, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Now the gambling committee is officially dead.

Governor Kay Ivey, on Wednesday, signed an Executive Order ending the work of 18 Bentley-era committees, councils, and task forces, including, as APR reported on Tuesday, the Alabama Advisory Council on Gaming.

Also on the chopping block was the Grocery Tax Task Force, which aimed to remove the 4-percent Alabama sales tax on food, and the Alabama Human Resources Task Force, which was set up to find better ways for DHR to deliver services and monitor for child abuse.
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ALSDE investigation: No one to blame for bad grad rate release

July 12, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

No single person was to blame for the premature release by the Alabama State Department of Education of error-filled graduation rates last April, an internal investigation found.

Former Jefferson County superintendent Phil Hammonds presented the findings of that investigation to the State Board of Education on Tuesday. Hammonds called the release of material “a perfect storm” of mistakes and miscommunication.

Those graduation rates, which miscalculated the rates in several districts, were released to the media on a Friday in April, just prior to a Monday State holiday. By the time ALSDE officials got back to work, county superintendents had bombarded the office with calls and complaints, and the head of the superintendents association was publicly criticizing the department and superintendent Michael Sentance.
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Governor “unofficially” disbands Gambling task force

July 11, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Advisory Council on Gaming seems to has vanished.

The 11-member committee, formed by former Gov. Robert Bentley to study the impact of various types of gambling on state revenue, hasn’t held a meeting in more than four months and sources close to several committee members say they were told Gov. Kay Ivey has “unofficially” shut it down.

“It was my understanding that it died when Ivey came in,” a source said. “The work was done, all that was left was writing the report. And the report wasn’t far from being completed.”

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