The Birmingham School board is in a legal battle with the state. It all came to a head Wednesday morning when Superintendent Craig Witherspoon was locked out of his office.
Getting to this point didn't happen overnight.
It started back in the spring when the Birmingham School System was supposed to submit a budget to the state showing how they would get a one-month operating reserve in the bank. Birmingham was the only school system out of 30 that didn't meet the deadline. Because of that the state school board created a plan for Birmingham City Schools.
The state's plan would cut about 200 jobs, but the Birmingham School Board didn't like the state's plan so it created a plan of its own. The state school board acknowledged the plan and told the Birmingham School Board to implement it.
But when it came time to approve the plan, the Birmingham School Board rejected it, saying they felt it was being shoved down their throats.
So the state school board took over the Birmingham School System, meaning the local school board doesn't have any control.
However, at the Birmingham School Board meeting Tuesday night, board members voted to terminate Witherspoon's contract and they appointed an interim superintendent.
State Superintendent Tommy Bice overturned that decision, but the Birmingham School Board didn't see it that way. They had the locks changed on Witherspoon's office so when he showed up for work Wednesday morning he couldn't get in.
Witherspoon immediately filed a temporary restraining order that reinstated him as superintendent and a court upheld that decision.
Birmingham Mayor Williams Bell is also getting involved with the BOE drama saying the state and local school board need to find some common ground.
"Stability is the key to all of that. Right now it's in an uproar. I have had some contact on the state level and local level trying to bring about some sense of coming together to move the school district forward," said Bell.
Birmingham City Schools are supposed to start back August 20 but they don't have all the principals and teachers in place because of the looming job cuts. That means they'll have to push back the school start date.
The school board was supposed to discuss that Tuesday night but the meeting was continued to Friday at 5:30 p.m.
Copyright 2012 WBRC. All rights reserved.
1720 Valley View Drive