Birmingham Board of Education Meeting – April 10, 2012

This is being shared on this blog to allow you to watch these proceedings, but also to allow those of you with your own boards of education an opportunity to compare your board’s conduct and governance abilities with this board of education.  Here’s news coverage of Tuesday’s meeting.  Here’s follow-up on Wednesday morning.  And here’s what happened Thursday due in large part to what you’re about to see.

About 250 people showed up for Tuesday’s regular board meeting, anticipating a faction of the elected board to fire Superintendent Dr. Witherspoon. Many residents, civic and corporate leaders spoke to the board during the public participation portion of the meeting and asked the board to keep Witherspoon as superintendent. Some participants spoke against Witherspoon, but they were far outnumbered by supporters.

Here is the Birmingham City Council reading a resolution in favor of keeping Witherspoon.

After they read their resolution, Board Member Emanuel Ford questioned the Council about their sincere commitment to the school system. Here’s that discussion:

Mayor William Bell also spoke to the board, repeated his support for the school system and asked them to keep Witherspoon as superintendent and let him do his job.

Witherspoon had asked for a contract extension last month, which the board tabled.  Here is the discussion of his contract extension.  It is in three parts.  Only take a look if you want to see serious confusion and dysfunction.  Otherwise, skip to the next set of videos.



This next video is Board President Edward Maddox’s attempt to terminate Witherspoon’s contract. It begins at 1 minute, 26 seconds into the video. His attempt is thwarted after a challenge regarding proper procedure. Apparently, the Board president cannot make a motion.

The Board continued with regular business.

After the Board concluded its regular business, State Board of Education member Dr. Yvette Richardson, who represents the district in which Birmingham City Schools reside, asked to speak.

At that point, my video camera died. Yes, I will take spare batteries with me in the future.

Oddly enough, at that point, Birmingham Board Vice President Alana Edwards attempted to make a motion to terminate Witherspoon’s contract. Again, due to parliamentary procedure, her motion was not allowed.

Board of Education members, in statements made after Edwards’ attempt was thwarted, conversely asked for ethics investigations, Open Meetings Act violations, and help from the Alabama State Department of Education.

Here is an interview with State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice, who attended the meeting, just after the meeting ended.

The meeting lasted nearly three hours. As a result of what he saw at the meeting, Bice and the State Board of Education have launched a full investigation and review into the governance of the Birmingham Board of Education.

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