Birmingham Board of Education passes budget and SACS response

{}Birmingham Board of Education members take the next legal step to protect their accreditation and vote on a proposed 2013 budget.{}

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - or SACS - raised some questions about the way the Birmingham Board operates. They gave the board until October first to respond. Tuesday night, they approved that resolution. At risk is an investigation and possibly- their accreditation."It was a warning saying, let's hear what you've got to say about it because we're concerned enough to send you that letter," Dr. Ed Richardson, State Appointed Chief Financial Officer said. "They don't send that letter out very often."That letter came from SACS - the group that gives accreditation - is calling into question the board's governance and possible micro-management.{}Tuesday, most board members signed-off on a resolution committing to SACS' standards and a review of it's policies. {} If the association finds other red flags with the Birmingham district, it may face an investigation or even probation. That means, the district's accreditation could be at stake. "I hope they will say this is satisfactory, give us a progress report about January or February as to how to accomplish those objectives you stated in your resolution and then if we are doing good work," Richardson said. "They may come back and say you need to do other things, and if they do, we're committed to doing those as well."Board member, Emmanuel Ford was the sole "no" vote. He says the resolution does not mention specifics and makes the entire board look guilty."When the state first came in, in a private meeting, if you don't approve the financial plan, then we will go after the accreditation," Emmanuel Ford, Board Member said. "That tells me you didn't have the children's best interest at heart in this setting."Also tonight, the board had to approve next year's budget or risk losing state funding. The total budget is about $260 million. $120 million of that is state money and $75 million is local. Keep in mind: the district must still meet state requirements to build a reserve of a $17 million operating reserve. Right now, they're at about $8 million. The budget did pass it's first phase, unanimously.