During Tuesday night's Birmingham Board of Education meeting, the board voted to fire Superintendent Craig Witherspoon. The acting CFO was quick to knock down the motion, but it appears boardmembers are defiant against the Alabama Department of Education's orders.
Birmingham City School Board President Edward Maddox made the motion to terminate Dr. Witherspoon. Five of eight board members voted in favor of the termination. They even appointed Samuetta Drew as the interim superintendent.
Acting CFO Ed Richardson tried to stand up to comment after the vote, but was told he was not on the agenda and could not speak. Richardson says because Witherspoon's firing would involve financial decisions, he has the power to move in and override any decision based on finances. That brought Witherspoon back in. Witherspoon did not comment on the firing after last night's meeting.
In an interview on Good Day Alabama on Wednesday morning, Richardson stated that the locks had already been changed on the Birmingham Schools superintendent's office, effectively locking Witherspoon out. He later told Fox6 News that his investigative team's security key cards had been deactivated so the team could not access the Birmingham BOE building. Richardson says the State will take the Birmingham BOE to court over the matter. He feels the board is overstepping their authority.
"I see this as the board members seeing themselves in a postion counter to extablished law. The law is clearly established. They know what they're doing," said Richardson.
On Wednesday morning, it was confirmed that Samuetta Drew was using the Birmingham Schools superintendent's office.
Two things were supposed to be decided at last night's meeting: the school start date for Birmingham students and also a decision to lay off 200 faculty and staff members to cut $12-million from its budget. Board members did not decide on either subject.
The Alabama Department of Education says they will issue a statement on the matter sometime on Wednesday. Richardson tells us attorneys have been contacted and that he expects a decision to come from State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice on legal action in the near future.
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