Mayor Bell says he's willing to help get the BOE back on track | News
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC)- Will Birmingham Mayor William Bell step into the ongoing battle for the future of Birmingham city schools?
Today he said he won't get involved in a dispute over whether the school board president actually lives in Birmingham, but that doesn't mean he's going to remain passive in the school system struggle.
Mayor Bell has said repeatedly he's trying to bring all sides to the table to calm the tough talk and try and focus on the kids.
But this week he's also making it clear he's willing to take on more responsibility if the legislature's willing to give it to him.
Bell is well aware of a judge's finding earlier this week that said school board president Edward Maddox actually lives in Trussville, not in his Birmingham district. But given the chance to weigh in on that today, Bell declined.
"Because that's an independent body, independent board, they report and answer to the state and we'll let that play out as it should," Bell said.
But on Monday, Bell reminded reporters that he warned against moving from an appointed to an elected school board when the change was made several years ago.
"I warned that this would not lead to a cohesive effort to improve the quality of our school system citywide," Bell said.
And with the system now under state control and one of the key issues being whether the board can or should fire its superintendent, Bell made it clear he would be willing to take a more active role in the school system if given the chance.
"I raised the issue of letting the mayor appoint the superintendent of schools," Bell said. "You get blamed for it anyway, so you might as well have the authority. I'm well-suited and well-prepared to have if the legislature gives it to me. But shortly after I was elected, the legislature refused to even take that up."
Rep. John Rogers, who's the co-chair of the Jefferson County delegation today and he said the idea of going to an elected school board and giving that board the power to appoint the superintendent was a plan pushed by voters to give more power to the people, and in his words "once you give them that power, you can't take it back."
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