Ed Richardson says major changes are ahead for Montgomery Public Schools

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Interim State Superintendent Dr. Ed Richardson says major changes are ahead for Montgomery Public Schools (MPS), else the district might lose its accreditation.

It’s a ominous thought, but an assessment he’s made before. Consider the state’s takeover of Birmingham City Schools in 2012 of which Richardson was appointed to oversee.

According to Richardson, the Birmingham City Schools and Montgomery Public Schools share similar issues: financial chaos, low test scores, student retention rates, and what Richardson considers improper influence of the board members have all attributed to the system’s possible surrender.

Richardson’s current plan of action is similar to the plan he executed to turn the Birmingham City Schools around.

Richardson says his plan would keep teachers in their classrooms, and he would advise the sell of vacant properties and possibly consolidation of the system to strengthen financial resources.

Birmingham’s board took Richardson’s advice in 2013 and voted to close schools while the district’s accreditation was on the fence.

AdvancED, closely monitored the Birmingham City School takeover and will be visiting Montgomery Public Schools later this month per Richardson’s request.

“[AdvancED’s] not coming to say you’re in trouble right now,” Richardson said of the visit to Montgomery Public Schools. “He’s coming to identify what the formal review of Montgomery will consist of, which will be the next school year.”

Montgomery Public Schools Board of Education submitted their budget to Richardson for approval at the end of December 2017. “I gave them the opportunity, but I’m submitting my own (budget),” said Richardson.

Not on the agenda in Richardson’s mind are teacher cuts. “Theirs included cutting (114) teachers and a number of paraprofessionals, which is certainly not compatible with improving instruction. There will be major changes, but I assure you it is my intention that teachers in the classroom will not be affected.”

Richardson will be presenting his plan of action to the Montgomery Public Schools Board of Education on January 26.