During the Baldwin County Board of Education’s work session in Fairhope Tuesday, Superintendent Eddie Tyler took time at the start of the meeting to publicly address Gulf Shores’ decision to form its own city school system.
“We basically are going through a split with the city of Gulf Shores as they are determining their path and their journey to start a city school system,” Tyler said. “We do wish them well. We wish them the best, and I want the best for the children and employees there as well.”
Tyler said the Baldwin County School System was in a position now of having to see what steps Gulf Shores would take next.
“We need to wait for Gulf Shores to put a school board in place and hire a superintendent,” Tyler said. “We’ll just have to wait and see. We have to wait for that to happen to engage with the city in negotiations.”
Tyler said he expected negotiations between the county system and Gulf Shores to likely begin by the end of this year or January 2018.
He said the city had put out an “aggressive timeline” to have their city school system running by next August.
“I don’t know how realistic that is,” Tyler said. “I’m not saying it isn’t possible or doable.”
Tyler said he was assembling a team including members of the BCSS staff to help with the process who were subject matter experts on various issues that could come up in negotiations.
Tyler cautioned board members to be aware of their personal commentary regarding the split, and said the decision of what happened would ultimately be left up to the state superintendent.
Tyler said he had visited with teachers earlier this week in the Gulf Shores feeder pattern schools to try to address anxieties there.
“There was nothing I could tell them other than we’re going to keep everyone’s best interest at heart,” Tyler said. “I wanted to try to put aside some fears and let them know what the timeline could look like.”
Tyler said he would have similar talks with teachers and others in Orange Beach to address questions and concerns they might have there.
He said he had been approached by some teachers in the affected schools that wanted to remain within the Baldwin County system, but said that would be a matter that would involve consultation with the system’s Personnel staff and the AEA representatives.
“In the end, I have 30,000 children left in Baldwin County schools that need our attention and close to 4,000 employees,” Tyler said.
Tyler said he understood many people across the county had questions and anxieties about the split, but he said right now things were somewhat in a holding pattern.
“All the parents, they have anxieties,” Tyler said. “Basically, they just want answers, but we don’t have answers to give them.”
Media request for full Gulf Shores study
Gulf Coast Media had requested a full version of the study commissioned by the City of Gulf Shores after the presentation of the five-page report presented to the council by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama.
Officials from the City of Gulf Shores contacted Gulf Coast Media this week and informed the paper that the five-page report was the complete study.