Demopolis BOE hears AEA official blast H.B. 84

Calling recently-passed House Bill 84 “arguably the worst piece of legislation for Alabama public education since its inception,” an Alabama Education Association representative told the Demopolis Board of Education that the AEA may go to court to block the new law.

At an otherwise uneventful BOE meeting Monday evening, AEA’s UniServe District 20 Director Labarron Mack told the board that H.B. 84 has unified public education officials and employees across the state. “Every member of public education is on the same page” in opposition to the measure, Mack told the board. “We’re looking at litigation.”

Known as the Local Control School Flexibility Act, H.B. 84 allows for students in public schools termed as “failing” to go to “non-failing” public or private schools under a controversial voucher system.

“We’re still looking at the ramifications,” Mack added. He told the BOE that the Act is projected to cost the State of Alabama $380 million. By contrast, he said, giving every school employee in the state a 10% raise would cost roughly $350 million.

In other matters, Superintendent Dr. Al Griffin noted that a community forum will be held at the BOE office on Saturday, April 6 at 1 p.m. Griffin said the event will consist of a question-and-answer format, and he encouraged the public to attend.

Griffin also announced that Demopolis High School has received a grant of approximately $85,000 for three years for its advance placement programs. He commended DHS Principal Leon Clark and the high school staff for its success rate in AP courses and for securing the funds.

The BOE approved Continuous Improvement Plans for all four schools in the system. Each school is responsible for maintaining and implementing the improvement plans on an on-going basis.

The board approved the use of the middle school and high school gyms as part of a basketball camp to be held June 3 at the Theo Ratliff Activity Center. More than 300 youngsters are expected to participate, which requires use of the extra gyms.

Griffin announced the retirements of high school special education aide Willie Alvin and middle school teacher Linda Edmonds, both effective at the end of the school year.