Pelham mayor advises city to slow down over school issue

Pelham mayor Gary W. Waters makes no secret of the fact he does not{}believe the timing is right for Pelham to break away from Shelby county and form its own city school system. "We have been a partner with Shelby county for the last 40 years. We should continue that partnership and find out what can be done to improve the aging infrastructure of the schools that are in Pelham."

Waters knows he is fighting a battle that he described as "very divisive." City Council President Rick Hayes favors creating a new school system sooner rather than later. A school finance expert, Ira Harvey, crunched the numbers and reported to city council in June that the city of Pelham has the revenue to support its own system.

Monday night at 7:00 o'clock, the city of Pelham will hold a town hall meeting at the Pelham Civic Complex.{}The issue of forming a school system is expected to be the main topic. Waters told abc3340, "at this point nobody has discussed anything other than the aging infrastructure of the schools." He added, "nobody has shown any tangible difference about what a Pelham diploma will look like other than a Shelby county diploma."

Water also says he is opposed to Pelham incurring additional debt when it is not necessary."I am in favor of slowing down this process, giving us time to talk to everybody involved and see if there are some alternatives between what we are currently doing now and what's being proposed of us breaking away from a good school system," he said.

Water considers this issue so divisive that he would be in favor of it coming to a vote of the people of Pelham. The earliest such a vote could happen would be in the spring of 2013.