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
Knight and McClammy sent a letter on Wednesday to the department about the issue on Wednesday.
“As such, we write to you with hopes that you can assist us in gaining a fair and long-overdue resolution to this pending matter,” the letter wrote. “We are also appreciative of any information that you can provide to offer a proper explanation that may assuage our constituents’ concerns.”
Attempts to bargain for the money included MPS selling a middle school in Montgomery to Pike Road Schools, but Montgomery School Board officials denied the sale citing their constituents’ opposition to the deal.
Barring an intervention from the Alabama State Department of Education, other ways of procuring the money were proposed by Knight.
At the press conference, Knight said he would consider adding an amendment to the Education Trust Fund that is expected on the floor next Thursday. The budget, which is the largest since the Great Recession, passed out of committee on Wednesday with no discussion among committee members.
The $6.6 billion education budget came at the request of Gov. Kay Ivey, who made education a hallmark of her administration.
The two representatives also mentioned that the matter is important due to the state of Montgomery’s Public Schools, which the State Board of Education elected to take over last year due to the number of failing schools within the district.
Montgomery’s takeover was overseen by former state Superintendent Michael Sentance, who resigned last year amid tensions with the State Board of Education. The Alabama Political Reporter reported weeks before his resignation that his handling of the takeover was a main dispute between him and the board.