The day after a federal lawsuit was filed challenging a state takeover of the Birmingham school system, some lawmakers are calling for an oversight committee for the state's top educators in takeovers.
Alabama School Superintendent Tommy Bice was granted the authority to take over Birmingham schools in 2012. Bice says the discord between the school board and Superintendent Craig Witherspoon was a threat to the quality of education and to the system's finances. But there are critics.
"In other words, when he takes over he is in total control and nobody has any right to make a decision. Even when people vote one way he still says he has total control. That is wrong," Rep. John Rogers said.
Rep. Mary Moore has sent letters to other lawmakers about the state intervention of Birmingham schools. Moore believed Bice is exceeding his authority. The Birmingham
Democrat wants to see an oversight committee made up of educators, business leaders and citizens created to oversee the superintendent during takeovers.
"I want to have a separate panel that would have subpoena power authority. So they would able to look at records and the way records are being kept," Moore said.
Moore would like to use Montgomery Senator Dick BrewBaker's bill, SB60, The Educational Accountability and Intervention Act of 2013, to do that. Brewbaker tells FOX6 News his bill is aimed at clarifying the law during a state takeover.
"If local school board won't initiate reform and is persistently low performing system the purpose of the bill is force reform," Brewbaker said.
As for an oversight committee, Brewbaker says the state school board oversees the state school superintendent. Brewbaker also questions creating an oversight committee created by the legislature.
"The last thing any school system would like is the legislature running intervention. The idea is absurd on its face," Brewbaker said.
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