The school board's agenda calls for a vote on teacher, and employee cuts but whether board members vote to approve it or not may not matter. These cuts were determined by the state and because they took over the school district, they can override decisions on exactly how cuts will be made.
In just about 24 hours, nearly 200 Birmingham City School teachers and employees may have a pink-slip in hand. The school board is set to vote on two key-changes aimed at getting its budget in line with state-requirements.
Tuesday's meeting will address two key steps toward getting the Birmingham district in compliance with the state savings plan. First, board members will vote on the list of teaching and staffing positions to be eliminated.
Board member Virginia Volker says the state's plan is damaging classrooms.
"If they have special needs children in their classes - I had a middle school teacher tell me, I've got some guys in my classes who are twice my size," Virginia Volker, Birmingham City School Board Member said. "They are special needs and they can't help themselves very much."
"It's going to be a difficult vote and a difficult decision but in the long term, these are going to be the things we have to do," Brian Giattina, Birmingham City School Board Member said.
The board will also vote on changing the salary policy for employees being demoted. Currently, that policy says all staff can keep their salary for one year, even though they'll be working in a lower paying position. A 'yes' vote would not change the policy until next year.
"It will hopefully bring some order and chain of command to the central office which has been a little confusing up until this point," Giattina said.
Dr. Ed Richardson says, board members can still vote, but if they do not approve the plan, the state will still move forward with it -- a situation leaving board members at odds.
"Sure it's hard - and it's hard for the citizens who elected us," Volker said.
"From an operational standpoint, like I said, I really feel like the staff and the state and Dr. Witherspoon - they've been working together and we have made a lot of progress in a short period of time," Giattina said.
The delay in approving the financial recovery plan is pushing the school start date back this fall. Tuesday, board members will vote on whether to delay the first day of school by three days. The meeting is set for 6:00 at Carver High School.
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