State school officials handed down a ruling that week that would delay the separation between Baldwin County Schools and the new Gulf Shores City Schools until 2019.
Word of outgoing State Superintendent Ed Richardson’s decision broke last Friday, as he prepared to leave office following the selection of Eric Mackey as the state’s new superintendent.
Baldwin County Schools Superintendent Eddie Tyler said in a press release he was pleased with the decision.
Tyler said in the statement:
“We have received the decision by Alabama State Superintendent Dr. Ed Richardson for a separation to begin in 2019. We believe that his decision will allow the best transition for the students, teachers and families in Gulf Shores with the least disruption for those families who will remain in our system.
“We have always been focused on what was in the best interest of the students, teachers and families. In our meetings to directly resolve this with Gulf Shores, we have always taken the position of a 2019 separation date. We have always felt that this start was in the best interest of the student and teachers. After hearing our position, Dr. Richardson agreed and we are pleased with his decision.
“With only one year to go, we will begin work towards the 2019 separation where we will wish Gulf Shores the best in their new system while also celebrating the opening of Baldwin County's new state of the art facility for grades 7-12 in Orange Beach. We are confident that everyone will be well served by this decision from Dr. Richardson.
“There are many details to discuss and we will work towards a final separation agreement quickly. We have committed to being transparent and we intend to be but we must do so in a responsible manner.”
Gulf Shores City School Board President Kevin Corcoran said the city was ready to move forward with the separation this year and said there is still work to be done.
In his statement, Corcoran said:
“Seventy days after requesting that Dr. Richardson intervene regarding the start date for Gulf Shores City Schools, we have received his ruling. Gulf Shores City Schools will be open for the 2019-20 school year. There was never a question of ‘if’ this transition would happen, but rather ‘when.’
“We were and are fully prepared to become operational in 2018. It is our hope to finalize contract negotiations with Dr. Matt Akin next week. Regardless of the timeline, there is much work to be done.
“Hiring a permanent superintendent will allow Dr. Akin and our board members with a unique opportunity of engaging our community and building a collaborative vision for Gulf Shores City Schools. With this major hurdle being decided, it is our hope that Superintendent Eddie Tyler and the BCBE will share our vision that we can forge forward and execute a mutually acceptable Separation Agreement this summer so that all parties can proceed with confidence and plan appropriately. This will allow the smooth transition that all parties want.”