The Gulf Shores School Board finally received a decision from Alabama State Superintendent Dr. Ed Richardson on its separation from the Baldwin County School System on Friday.
Unfortunately for the Gulf Shores School Board, the decision was not one they had hoped for.
In January, tensions rose as the Gulf Shores School Board and Baldwin County School Board met to discuss the school split. With Gulf Shores fighting for the school split to be completed by fall of 2018, and Baldwin County Schools believing fall 2019 a more realistic start date.
In February, Baldwin County school officials announced they would no longer negotiate with Gulf Shores, and asked the state superintendent to intervene.
Richardson made the decision for the schools to begin separation in 2019, seventy days after both boards made the request for Richardson to step in.
Gulf Shores School Board president Kevin Corcoran says the board continued to make moves towards a 2018 start date while they waited over two months for the the state superintendents decision. To prove their commitment the board offered Huntsville school superintendent Matt Akin the superintendent’s position for their schools on Thursday but did not include and official start date.
“Seventy days after requesting that Dr. Richardson intervene regarding the start date for Gulf Shores City Schools, we have received his ruling. Gulf Shores City Schools will be open for the 2019-20 school year. There was never a question of ‘if’ this transition would happen, but rather ‘when,'” said Corcoran in a statement. “We were and are fully prepared to become operational in 2018. It is our hope to finalize contract negotiations with Dr. Matt Akin next week. Regardless of the timeline, there is much work to be done.”
Baldwin County school system Superintendent Eddie Tyler said the school system has always been focused on what was in the best interest of the students, teachers and families in regards to the split. He said they were pleased with Richardson’s decision.
“With only one year to go, we will begin work towards the 2019 separation where we will wish Gulf Shores the best in their new system while also celebrating the opening of Baldwin County’s new state of the art facility for grades 7-12 in Orange Beach. We are confident that everyone will be well served by this decision from Dr. Richardson,” said Tyler in a statement.