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School closings hinge on budget

By Staff
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
After attending a state superintendents' meeting in Montgomery last week, Hartselle City Schools Superintendent Dr. Lee Hartsell said looming school closings are hinging on the passage of a budget, not Gov. Bob Riley's proposed $1.2 billion tax and education reform package.
According to Hartsell, State Superintendent Dr. Ed Richardson was misquoted when referring to possible statewide school closings in October. A Birmingham newspaper had quoted Richardson saying he would order schools across the state to close if Riley's tax passage failed.
Richardson denies making those comments.
Richardson said, abiding by law, schools would close if a state school budget had not passed by the Oct. 15 deadline.
Hartsell said Richardson never indicated that the closings were in any way related to voter response to Riley's plan.
"Gov. Riley did speak at the meeting and we were asked to support his plan," Hartsell said. "However, the possibility of school closings have nothing to do with his tax proposal."
Hartsell said superintendents were asked to submit budgets by Sept. 15.
In other business, Hartsell said the Alabama State Board of Education did not adopt any changes at the meeting regarding the No Child Left Behind act.
He said several proposals were offered regarding the highly qualified teachers designation, but not accepted.
"I hope the board revisits the issue again in the months to come," Hartsell said. "If not, I just don't know where that leaves us."