Interim State Superintendent: “Delaying Tactics” Standing In The Way Of Progress In MPS
Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange and Interim state superintendent Ed Richardson held a joint press conference Wednesday to discuss the many issues facing the Montgomery Public Schools System.
Much like Richardson’s initial announcement of his intervention plan, he did not mince words when expressing his frustrations with the current state of Montgomery Public Schools.
Richardson named an ongoing lawsuit involving Georgia Washington Middle School as one of the “delaying tactics” by the Alabama Education Association that is stopping much need progress in MPS.
The failed sale of the school to Pike Road for nearly 10 million dollars still leaves the school system in a financial bind, and facing a nearly 5 million dollar deficit in next year’s budget. The solution, Richardson announced, is out sourcing nearly 400 jobs and cutting close to 200 teachers and staff.
“I would say this is the worst possible option” said Richardson, also laying some of the blame on MPS board members.
“I would say to you in fairness to the board, I’ve found no reason to believe they’re malicious or dishonest or not committed to Montgomery. I haven’t found that at all,” Richardson said of the board. “What I have found is an inability or an unwillingness to deal with the significant problems that lie before us.”
Several board members were at the press conference and ready to respond to Richardson’s comments.
Richardson also announced the MPS central office has been added to a list of closing property and schools that will be listed for sale to try and minimize the job cuts that he called “uncalled for and unnecessary”.
“Now here’s a system that is already suffering from academic problems” said Richardson “and now were faced with that distasteful task and by the end of April, we will have to make those decisions”.
A decision is still pending in the lawsuit that will settle whether it is legal for the interim superintended to sell property within MPS; a right the AEA alleges only belongs to the school board. Richardson has said that should the courts not rule in favor of closing Georgia Washington, MPS would be facing at least an additional million dollars in cuts.
As for the other 3 schools that are slated to close this fall (Dozier, Floyd and Chisolm Elementary) Richardson says they are awaiting the final court decision before holding informational rezoning meetings.