Baldwin County and Gulf Shores at odds over school split

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In January, Baldwin County’s first-ever school split talks began. Gulf Shores is currently trying to split from the rest of the Baldwin County School System to form it’s own Gulf Shores city school system.

During the first meetings in January, tension was high as the two groups discussed a new superintendent for the Gulf Shores school. According to a report by AL.com, Baldwin County school system Superintendent Eddie Tyler, said “There will be no negotiations right now on our part without a superintendent in place.”

However, the main issue Baldwin County Schools has with Gulf Shores are the city schools continued demands for the school split to be completed by fall of 2018. Baldwin County Schools believes this will put more strain on the system than necessary, and think that fall 2019 is a more realistic start date.

Although both groups disagreed on some issues, by the end of the first meeting Kevin Corcoran, Gulf Shores school board president, said he was thrilled with the outcome of the meeting.

Gulf Shores City Schools has since hired Suzanne Freeman as an interim superintendent. She will serve the school system for 180 days, while they search for a permanent superintendent.

The only issue left was where to send the nearly 600 children who attend Gulf Shores schools right now, who will need to be relocated when the city school is settled.

Everything was looking like a go for Gulf Shores City Schools, until Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Baldwin County school officials announced they will no longer negotiate with Gulf Shores, and have asked the state superintendent to intervene. Tyler asked Interim State Superintendent Ed Richardson to resolve the issue of a start date for the schools.

Tyler told AL.com, “Gulf Shores has refused to respect our sincere concerns regarding the serious consequences of a rushed split this summer, leaving only a matter of months to prepare… They knew these facilities would be complete and ready for students in August 2019, to know this from the beginning and still demand a 2018 start date is disrespectful at best.”

There has been a lot of ‘talk’ about their vision and their hopes, but they have yet to offer anything of any substance on how they will do this, including the simple question I have asked in every meeting — how are you going to get this started in just a matter of months?” said Tyler.

As of late Wednesday, no decision has been made regarding the two school systems.

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