MPS board approves settlement allowing superintendent hire

Published: Jan. 5, 2018 at 8:11 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 5, 2018 at 10:19 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Montgomery County Board of Education voted Friday to approve a settlement agreement between the Alabama State Department of Education and the Alabama Education Association.

"We know this was a great day for the Montgomery Public School System," said Theron Stokes, AEA attorney. "Simply put, as the state requires the Montgomery Board of Education to be accountable, this mediation also requires the state department of education be held accountable."

Based on the settlement, the MCBOE will be permitted to hire an interim superintendent and legal in-house counsel within 30 days of the executed agreement and a permanent superintendent by May 30, 2018.

"We have been working an entire year like a ship without a sail-- no plan whatsoever. I am so happy structure has been put in place again so we can  continue to work. Let's do what we said we would do with respect to the intervention we agreed to, and that is we would do it in a collaborative effort rather than in a dictatorship," said Robert Porterfield, MPS Board President.

The board voted 6-1 in favor of approving the agreement with Lesa Keith being the lone board member to vote against it.

Keith said this was a "last ditch effort" by AEA that is stifling the progress of MPS.

Keith released a statement saying:

"This decision has nothing to do with education! Simply put- it's a dog bone to give a hint of power to the BOE. And it's an expensive 6-digit salary ,that we can't afford 'dog bone' for AEA to wag their tails with at this time during the intervention! AEA needs to get out of the way of progress!"

According to the settlement, when the MCBOE hires a superintendent, he or she will be provided use of the superintendent's office and the resources to do the job.

"The Chief Administrative Officer will be provided with convenient, adequate, and appropriate office space and resources at the facility where the superintendent's office is located," the settlement stated.

Reginald Eggleston was named the MPS chief administrative officer in November.

The settlement requires the state superintendent to develop a written intervention plan by Jan. 26 and present it to the Montgomery County Board of Education.

The plan must address the following items:

  • The scope of intervention authority
  • The role of the MCBOE and MPS officials in day-to-day administration

The Montgomery County Board of Education called a special meeting for 1 p.m. Friday to discuss the settlement. The settlement agreement was the result of a lawsuit AEA filed against the state department of education in September on behalf of MPS employees.

That suit was filed against State Superintendent Michael Sentance, who has since resigned, and Reginald Eggleston, Chief Education Officer for the MPS intervention and was prompted, according to AEA officials, after Sentance blocked the school board "from appointing a county superintendent and a general in-house counsel, uncontrolled spending resulting in reduced funding for MPS student needs, influx of hiring of non-certified employees, and multiple actions and proposed actions taken against MPS employees."

AEA said it was able to resolve the issue of the unlawful transfer of MPS custodians, adding they will remain in their current work locations but will be assigned to the Logistics Department for supervisory purposes only.

AEA also said the transfer matter concerning Lillian Sanders has also been resolved by her acceptance of another administrative position without a loss of status or pay.

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