There was little attempt by members of the Montgomery County school board to hide their frustration with state superintendent Mike Sentance and his so-called intervention plan at their May 16 meeting.
As reported by WSFA TV in Montgomery, board members don’t feel that the state is honoring commitments it made when they decided to intervene four months ago.
“So far we haven’t had the collaboration that we had expected,” board chairman Robert Porterfield said.
To date, Sentance has let a no-bid contract for three years for $750,000 to former Huntsville City school system Jason Taylor to straighten out Montgomery’s finances. He let a $500,000+ contract to consulting firm Class Measures of Massachusetts, a firm he once was involved with. He hired Reggie Eggleston from the Mobile County system to run the Montgomery intervention program. His salary is $164,419.20.
A job posting for a chief of staff for Eggleston, at a salary range of $109,267 to $132,459, is now being advertised by the Montgomery system.
Board members are bewildered as to where money to pay for all of this is coming from. “I would have never signed up for an intervention if I knew it was not going to be for resources for things that would help the children and help our employees do their jobs,” said board member Mary Briers. “None of the money that’s been spent so far has been spent on resources for children. It’s been spent on salaries and contracts. We got to stop rolling over and playing dead.”
At the same time the state department is on a spending spree for executives and consultants, they are pink slipping teachers over the objections of principals.
This is just one more example of the lack of leadership coming from the state department of education, led by Mike Sentance.
And make no mistake about it, this chaos is all about politics. All eight members of the state board of education are elected. They are now led by Governor Kay Ivey as chairman of the state board.
Politics got us here. And only politics can get us out. But only when those in charge say, “Enough is enough.”
From my vantage point, the key to stopping the kind of train wreck unfolding in Montgomery, is action by the governor. And what prompts action by a politician? The VOICE of the people.
So the choice is quite clear. Either concerned citizens speak out and register their concerns with the governor. Or they remain silent, and in so doing, give their approval to what is taking place.
Governor Kay Ivey
Alabama State Capitol
600 Dexter Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36130