The Alabama Education Association (AEA) has filed a lawsuit on behalf of three Montgomery Public Schools (MPS) employees aimed at halting the sale of Georgia Washington Middle School to the neighboring Pike Road school system.
AEA filed the lawsuit on Friday — against interim State Superintendent Dr. Ed Richardson, Pike Road Mayor Gordon Stone and Chief Administrative Officer Reginald Eggleston — claims does not have the legal authority to sell the school and questions whether or not the sale is a conflict of interest for Richardson who was previously involved with Pike Road Schools as executive director of the Pike Road Leadership Council.
The lawsuit requests a temporary halt of the sale until the legality of Richardson’s involvement in the sale is resolved.
Richardson issued a statement in response to the suit explaining his only concern is the children of Montgomery County.
“My concern is now, and has always been, the children of Montgomery County. My resolve is to make sure the students who attend Montgomery Public schools get a quality education. The student achievement in Montgomery’s non-magnet schools are some of the lowest in the state,” said Richardson.
He continued, “In more than 50 years of education experience, and having been involved in numerous school interventions all across this state, I have never witnessed this kind of dismal student achievement. It is wrong, deceptive, and dishonest to sit by and continue to watch young people, who are full of potential, graduate from high school with reading and math scores that are unacceptable and don’t even approach Alabama’s average – much less other states. My primary concern is the proper education of children – not inconveniencing adults.”
Richardson announced the sale of the school earlier this month during a press conference when an intervention plan of the Montgomery Public School System was released.
He said if the school isn’t sold, layoffs will have to be made.
“If Georgia Washington is NOT sold, we anticipate approximately 200 MPS teachers and 75 support staff will have to be laid off in order for MPS to meet its financial obligation,” Richardson added.
A hearing for the lawsuit will take place Monday, Feb. 26 at 9 a.m. The plaintiffs are Edwards Simms, a Robert E. Lee High School teacher with a child at Georgia Washington, Chisholm Elementary Child Nutrition Program manager Edwina Relf and Tislam Ellis, a Sidney Lanier High School teacher.