The Shelby County School Superintendent is responding to concerns from Pelham leaders. Pelham may form its own school system, so the county is addressing infrastructure and other issues that may be pushing Pelham away.
Pelham's council hasn't yet made the decision to break away from Shelby County. Councilor Maurice Mercer sent a letter to Superintendent Randy Fuller to voice the council's concerns. Fuller sent this 8 page response addressing things from renovations to curriculum.
"If you have dialogue, you have progress." The Pelham City Council is taking steps before making a big decision, on whether to form a city school system. Mayor Gary Waters says the council now has more to go on since Superintendent Randy Fuller answered some questions. "There's a lot of information that hasn't been shared with the citizens of Pelham, namely the 22 million that the Shelby County Board of Education has spent in Pelham the last 12 years."
Waters says 95-percent of discussion on forming a school system is about infrastructure. Renovations are currently underway at Pelham High School. "Everything we presented them in a laundry list of things that needed to be repaired are bring done right now. New floors, ceiling, fresh paint."
Waters believes Shelby County is doing a good job, but some board members have concerns. Superintendent Fuller responded to many, including renovations, teacher recruitment and said the elementary school and location of the middle school would be considered in future capital projects.
Pelham parent, JJ Kamholtz, is glad school and city leaders are talking about this. "Hopefully, they have the students best interest in mind and they're thinking long term."
But Councilman Ron Scott still believes a city school system is the better route. He says he was disappointed with the letter's content and hope for improvements.
Waters says the recent decision in Hoover Schools to end bus transportation.. is a sign that more discussion is needed before taking a big step in Pelham .. and Pelham mom, Katie Gironda agrees. "I think they do need to be proactive and really think it through and not let it be some off the wall decision."
We did call Superintendent Fuller, but he is out of the office this week. The Pelham City Council is also still considering raising the sales tax one cent for schools.