Birmingham Board votes on new president

There's new leadership at the Birmingham Board of Education. Board members selected April Williams as the new president. Former President Edward Maddox resigned over misdemeanor ethics violations.Board members also voted for Brian Giattina to take on the role of Vice President.{} After the election of officers, board members got down to business.Nominations for board president started off the meeting. But before members could vote for April Williams or Virginia Volker, Emmanuel Ford asked state appointed CFO Ed Richardson to discuss a residency issue, but it was dropped and April Williams won the vote. The board then quickly turned to business.One key discussion, the improvement plan for schools. The board must update the accrediting body SACS on what it is doing to improve governance issues. Richardson says "We have until December first to submit our specific strategies for addressing their concern about governance issues and then we will give them a progress report in February." Board members also discussed revising the student code of conduct. They approved giving principals more flexibility on discipline. Richardson says{} "What they're saying is if the principal said this a very serious fight, weapons involved whatever, and six days is not enough, they can call the superintendent and explain the circumstances and he's authorized to say or do whatever is appropriate."Board members ended by welcoming new member Carol Clarke. New changes bring new hope for Williams. "I will not have even the perception of this team against that team. I want all board members to share in receiving information and be respected."The school board did not discuss closing any schools. Dr. Richardson says 8 to 10{} schools could close as part of the state savings plan. A team is still gathering data to figure out which schools will be affected