Alabama BOE to investigate Birmingham BOE

Alabama BOE to investigate Birmingham BOE

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

The Alabama Board of Education has announced an investigation into the Birmingham School Board. For days now, controversy has been swirling around the Birmingham Board and its superintendent.  

The Alabama Board of Education unanimously approved the investigation into the Birmingham Board of Education on Thursday.

[Alabama State Board of Education's resolution to investigate the Birmingham City Board of Education]

Before taking the vote, State Superintendent Tommy Bice explained how this all started.  He said that when some of the Birmingham School Board members called a special meeting last Friday, he started getting a lot of concerned calls. That meeting was later cancelled, but the topic of discussion was going to be the contract of Dr. Craig Witherspoon, Birmingham's Superintendent.

Some Birmingham board members want Witherspoon out because of what they call communication problems.  Other members of the board and many in the community are upset with the way this situation has been handled and want Witherspoon to stay.

State Superintendent Bice attended the Birmingham School Board meeting on Tuesday where twice board members who oppose Witherspoon called for motions to terminate him. They both failed. Bice says as that meeting progressed, he became less concerned with Witherspoon's contract and more concerned about the way the school board is operating.

Bice sent Birmingham City BOE president Edward Maddox a letter on Thursday informing him of the decision to investigate the school board. The letter states that the Birmingham BOE must collect all records of any and every BOE meeting from the past five years.

"Until my review is complete, I expect no action to be taken by the Birmingham Board or any of its officials that would disrupt or interfere with the investigation or with the execution of teh Birmingham Board's administrative or educational functions. Specifically, the Board is not to initiate or approve any adverse personnel action at the senior executive level during the review and investigation period without prior written approval from this office," Bice told Maddox in the letter.

[Click here to read the full letter]

Fox 6 News got a chance to talk with Birmingham board member Alana Edwards, who wants to see Witherspoon terminated, to get her reaction on this investigation. She said, "I welcome the investigation. I don't have anything to hide."

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