Lawsuit filed against State Board of Education over takeover

State education leaders are now facing a lawsuit - from two Birmingham School Board members, residents, and members of the Alabama Education Association. The suit states that the state takeover of the Birmingham School Board is "unconstitutional."It names State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice, State Appointed Chief Financial Officer, Dr. Ed Richardson, and the State Board of Education. It claims a state law cannot be used to override the federal law that allows people to vote for board members. The lawsuit also says that Dr. Ed Richardson overrides board decisions each time they vote against the state plan.{}"Bice, Richardson, and the State School Board have abused their power by overruling the elected representatives of the people of Birmingham," Edward Still, Attorney said."The only thing we are saying is there needs to be some kind of checks and balances so that Dr. Richardson doesn't have the authority to just come in, change all personnel action, change policies and procedures, because he sees fit," Gregory Graves, Alabama Education Association said. "If the board votes with him, then fine. If not, then I'm going to override you. That's not democracy.""It's just another attempt to delay the action that needs to be taken in order to get Birmingham back on sound financial footing and I'm sure the state will be upheld when it's over," Dr. Ed Richardson, State Appointed Chief Financial Officer said.Dr. Richardson also told us a lengthy court battle could delay board decisions and ultimately delay the start of school this coming Fall.{}