The four members voting no were Vice President Ella Bell (District 5), Betty Peters (District 2), Stephanie Bell (District 3), and Yvette Richardson (District 4).
The three yes votes were from Mary Scott Hunter (District 8), Cynthia McCarty (District 6) and Jeff Newman (District 7).
District 1 was not represented, as Al Thompson resigned to take a seat on the newly-appointed two-year college board.
Early in the meeting, board members were presented with a ballot of twenty-one names and were asked to choose ten.
Board members were then allowed time to vote. The ballots were gathered and given to Deputy Superintendent Andy Craig to tally, with the final vote to be held at the end of the meeting.
State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice told the board that they were to choose four of the eight names submitted by the Governor, one of the two names submitted by the Lieutenant Governor, two of the five names submitted by the President Pro Tem of the Senate, Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and three of the six names submitted by the Speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn).
Here’s the video of that portion of the meeting.
When it came time for the board to officially approve the chosen names, Bice revealed that only three board members had chosen names.
The names that were chosen by those three members were read aloud:
- Thomas Rains, A+ Education Partnership, (Governor’s nomination)
- Sally Howell, Alabama Association of School Boards (Governor’s nomination)
- Dr. Ed Richardson, former state superintendent (Governor’s nomination)
- Mac Buttram, former representative for District 12 (Governor’s nomination)
- Melinda McClendon, (Lieutenant Governor’s nomination)
- Chad Fincher, former representative for District 102 (Senate President Pro Tem’s nomination)
- Dr. Quesha Starks (Senate President Pro Tem’s nomination)
- Terry Tomlinson (Speaker of the House’s nomination)
- Gloria Batts (Speaker of the House’s nomination)
- Dr. Alma Freeman (Speaker of the House’s nomination)
The resulting board vote, four no votes and three yes votes, was NOT to approve the members of the commission.
Yvette Richardson and Stephanie Bell both stated they didn’t feel the board had enough time to consider the names. Bell said that very little information accompanied the list of names given to the board.
Betty Peters expressed her dismay that appointing the commission is the only part of the charter school process where the legislature included the state board. Peters added that she felt the board was being reduced to a “rubber stamp” and did not believe that was her role as an elected board member.
Mary Scott Hunter said she felt the board was being “recalcitrant” and was “embarrassed” that the board could not follow through with what it was asked to do. She accused the board of not doing its homework.
The General Counsel for the Alabama Department of Education, Larry Craven, cautioned the board that it is bound to follow the law, and the law required them to appoint a commission prior to June 1. He added that if the board doesn’t do so, it should expect litigation.
Stephanie Bell reminded him that today is May 13, and there is still time to do so prior to June 1.
Here is video of the board’s vote and discussion.
The board’s work session has been postponed until 9:30 a.m. on Thursday to allow the board to attend the public hearing on the Education Trust Fund budget, to be held in room 617 of the Alabama Statehouse at 8:30 a.m.
[This post was updated at 3:40 p.m. to add nominee names and links to video.]
[This post will continue to be updated.]