State files lawsuit against Birmingham BOE

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, the Alabama State Board of Education and State Superintendent of Education Dr. Thomas R. Bice have filed a lawsuit against the Birmingham City Board of Education and its members.

The lawsuit seeks a court order instructing the Birmingham school board to adhere to and follow the rules that come with the state takeover of the school system.{} It seeks a permanent court injunction to stop the Birmingham board from taking any action contrary to the authority of the State Superintendent of Education and the State Board of Education.

In a statement from the Attorney General's Office, "The lawsuit became necessary due to the local board's failure to comply with state law and its open defiance and obstruction of state education directives."

Attorney General Luther Strange said, "As the State's chief legal officer, it is my responsibility to ensure that public officials follow the law. {}The Birmingham Board of Education has not only failed to follow the law, but they have further openly challenged state authority."

In so doing, AG Strange says the board has "created chaos and put the interests of school children at risk."

State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice said, "It is regretful that our attempts to achieve a collaborative resolution with the Birmingham Board have reached a point of impasse that calls for legal action.{} However, this step has been taken in order to ensure that the educational interests of the students of the Birmingham City Schools are met."

The lawsuit explains that the Birmingham Board is in a state of financial and political crisis.{} Yet, it also states that the local board still has openly challenged and ignored "the properly-invoked statutory authority of the State Board of Education and Superintendent Bice."{}