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Selma school board meets after state takeover

Reaction to Wednesday’s unanimous decision by the State Board of Education to take over the Selma City School System came in the last few moments of Thursday’s regular meeting of the Selma City School Board.

Selma City School Board president Henry Hicks Sr. said it is up to the local school leadership to make sure the state takeover goes as smoothly as possible, and gets the expected results.

“The board here is going to work in line with the state,” Hicks said. “[Selma Superintendent of Education Gerald Shirley] is going to work in line with the state to try to make sure that whatever they’re bringing into us, we are able to do that.”

After Hicks’ statement, each of the remaining board members declined to make comments on the state’s decision.

Following Wednesday’s decision in Montgomery, State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tommy Bice said he is currently assembling a team of individuals and one, specific, point person to oversee the takeover. He also said he expects the team to begin advising Selma school officials in two weeks.

The State Department of Education has the authority to handle the day-to-day decision making during a takeover, according to Bice’s statement to the Times-Journal Wednesday, he prefers the teamwork with the current Selma’s superintendent of education to improve the system.

The resolution referencing the state board intervention, introduced in January and approved Wednesday cited the late submission of a corrective action plan as one of the reasons for state takeover.

The plan was in response to a scathing state investigation of the Selma City School System that was revealed last fall, but Bice said the plan failed to include many necessary components.

The investigation lead to findings that the Selma City Schools System failed to adequately investigate allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior, failed to enforce policies regarding graduation requirements regarding standardized testing procedures and has a disregard for instructional time.