Nearly 100 Birmingham school employees are taking legal action in an effort to get their old jobs back.
The 99 former employees have filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit between the state of Alabama and the Birmingham City School System. The school system sued the state in an effort to avoid a takeover by the state school board, but that effort was rejected by Jefferson Co. Circuit Judge Houston Brown who told the school board to stop resisting the takeover.
After the judge's ruling, once of the first actions by State Superintendent Tommy Bice was to force the school system to reduce staff. The board deadlocked over the plan but Bice approved it.
The former employees say that decision violated state law. Their motion contends the school board can only make personnel decisions involving terminating tenured employees based on the recommendations of the local superintendent.
"The Birmingham Board and the state superintendent did not follow the statute in the way they made those personnel decisions," Candis McGowan, one of the attorneys for the school employees, said Friday.
McGowan says there is also a question of back pay.
"If they are let go, they are entitled to get 75 days of pay. In this case they only got 15 days of pay."
McGowan says they former employees understand the school system is in financial trouble, but content state laws still have to be followed.
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