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Alabama schools chief tells state school board: His team can and will act if Birmingham board won’t

Staff Report

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Former Alabama state Superintendent Ed Richardson will have complete authority in managing the financial operations of the Birmingham school system, current state Superintendent Tommy Bice told the Alabama school board this morning.

In a special called meeting, Bice gave a quick presentation to board members on his intervention plan for the city school district, which was taken over by the state on financial grounds after a tumultuous Birmingham school board meeting Tuesday.

Bice said the intervention team, led by Richardson, will be the same team members who have been there since mid-April investigating the district’s finances, academics and board governance. The team would like to work collaboratively with the board to make major cuts in the district’s budget, but Bice said he has the authority to override the board’s decisions if necessary.

“If we can’t get decisions made, I’ll be making them on their behalf,” Bice said.

At Tuesday’s city school board meeting, the board rejected implementation of a financial plan put together by the state and necessary to meet a law requiring school districts keep at least one month’s worth of operating expenses in a reserve account. Birmingham has about $2 million of the $17 million required.

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