Thank God And Greyhound — The Sentance Saga, Part 4

October 10, 2017

By Larry Lee
Education Matters

The Alabama Education Association has now filed suit against Sentance and Reggie Eggleston, who is in charge of the Montgomery takeover, contending that the state cannot deny the elected school board the right to hire a superintendent.

Under Sentance and his “leadership team,” the work environment at the state department was described as “toxic.” Too many necessary jobs went unfilled. State board members were inundated with complaints from their district school systems about the difficulty of getting calls and emails answered.

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Thank God And Greyhound — The Sentance Saga, Part 3

October 9, 2017

By Larry Lee
Education Matters

Why all the shenanigans?

There is little unity of purpose among board members and certainly was no consensus going into the selection process as to what the state’s top education priorities were and what kind of person and experience were needed to get us to that point.

Of the six finalists, three were local superintendents, one was a member of the governor’s cabinet and two were policy wonks from California and Massachusetts with no hands-on education experience.

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Thank God And Greyhound — The Sentance Saga, Part 2

October 6, 2017

By Larry Lee
Education Matters

Things really got funky at the state board meeting on July 12.

Each board member got an envelope with an unsigned “complaint” to the state Ethics Commission alleging that Pouncey plagiarized his 2009 doctoral dissertation for Samford University, as well as getting excessive help from department employees.

The Ethics Commission will not investigate unsigned complaints, so the info became a moot point. In fact, six of the eight board members testified that they paid no attention to this letter and discarded it.

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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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Sentance out, Richardson in as superintendent

September 15, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Out with the new, in with the old at the Alabama State Department of Education.

State school board members on Thursday accepted the resignation of Michael Sentance, ending a tumultuous one-year tenure, and selected former superintendent Ed Richardson to take over on an interim basis.

“I’m very excited that Dr. Richardson is going to be returning,” said Gov. Kay Ivey, who presided over the meeting. Ivey, by virtue of her office, is the Board of Education president.

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Should Superintendent Sentance be fired?

September 13, 2017

By Rep. Craig Ford

On Thursday, the State Board of Education will meet to discuss terminating State Superintendent Michael Sentance’s contract.

Politics has surrounded Sentance’s time in Alabama, starting even before he was hired. And if the Board decides to fire him, his supporters will claim that politics was the driving factor.

Sentance was the preferred choice of those who support charter schools and diverting tax dollars away from public schools to fund scholarships for private schools. And with his job on the line, most – if not all – of those who have publicly supported him have been those who support charter schools and the Accountability Act scholarship program.
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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 cuts to ALSDE staff start with popular deputy superintendent

September 1, 2017
Alabama Superintendent Michael Sentance

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

State Superintendent Michael Sentance has begun the process of cutting costs to offset a potential $8 million budget shortfall, and the first cut was popular Deputy Superintendent Jeff Langham, several sources confirmed to APR.

Sources said Langham, the former Elmore County Schools superintendent, was informed by Sentance on Thursday that his position was being eliminated as part of a 20 percent cut in the Alabama State Department of Education’s expenses.

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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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State School Board cancels meeting, “circus” work session to be held instead

August 23, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Michael Sentance survives – again.

A majority of the Alabama Board of Education couldn’t agree to attend a meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning, following a letter late last week from Gov. Kay Ivey’s legal advisor. That letter warned that the meeting might have been improperly called and that any action taken at it could be deemed illegal.

So, that meeting was officially cancelled late Tuesday afternoon, and a work session will be held instead. Board members can’t take official actions at a work session, so the scheduled review of Sentance’s contract, which was on the agenda for the cancelled meeting, will have to wait.
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