An interim superintendent in Alabama says about 200 teacher positions in Montgomery will have to be eliminated and outsource 400 support jobs to stabilize finances.
Al.com reports that Ed Richardson says the Alabama Education Association could have prevented the job cuts for Montgomery Public Schools if it had not gone to court to block his plan to sell Georgia Washington Middle School to the town of Pike Road.
Richardson led a state intervention into Montgomery schools because of financial and academic problems.
Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange joined Richardson during the news conference Thursday. The city has no authority over education, but the city expended some time and money studying the possibility of a city school system but determined it was not feasible.
The AEA represents teachers and other education employees.
“Now here’s a system that’s already struggling with academic problems,” Richardson said. “The original plan, we did not have to cut any teacher nor outsource any employees. And now we’re faced with that distasteful task and by the end of this month, April, we will make those decisions.”
The AEA said in a statement that Richardson had a conflict of interest since he worked as a consultant for the Pike Road system.
“Anyone paying attention to the matter knows Ed Richardson has a personal issue with AEA,” AEA President Sherry Tucker said in a statement. “This is causing him to make decisions that he thinks will hurt AEA, regardless of if they will help the children of Montgomery County.”
However, Richardson said the AEA’s claim is “totally false.”
“Wherever I’m employed is where I give my full attention,” Richardson said. “In this case it’s trying to get the intervention for Montgomery Public Schools in a position where they have a chance to be released sometime in the near future.”
Richardson said he still expects Georgia Washington and the three other schools to close.
Robert Porterfield, president of the Montgomery Public Schools Board, said Richardson was being prematurely negative.
“We were accredited before the state came and we have not been unaccredited and I think you’re making a big to-do out of this before the board gets an opportunity to even see what they’ve come up with,” Porterfield said.
Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.