Gulf Shores wants more safety in its county school buildings

By: Crystal Cole/ Islander Editor
Posted 5/30/18

The City of Gulf Shores discussed education building inadequacies and how to get the county school board to help at its most recent City Council work session meeting.

The city’s school board …

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Gulf Shores wants more safety in its county school buildings

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The City of Gulf Shores discussed education building inadequacies and how to get the county school board to help at its most recent City Council work session meeting.

The city’s school board president, Kevin Corcoran, spoke to the council after discussion of ratifying a lease agreement between the City of Gulf Shores and the city’s school board.

The building to be leased, the former Harry Roberts Community House, was renovated to accommodate the board and newly-hired superintendent.

“What the city has done for our new building is just incredible,” Corcoran said. “Not only is it a great facility and a great start to what we are trying to do in having a great school system, but it was instrumental in landing a quality superintendent candidate. When Dr. Akin saw the commitment the city had to that building alone, it demonstrated your overall passion for improving education in Gulf Shores.”

The school shooting tragedy in Santa Fe, Texas was brought up before concerns about the educational buildings in Gulf Shores. Corcoran said safety was a big reason for wanting to start the city’s schools in the fall. He said many citizens are bringing up safety concerns on social media channels.

“Everyone knows we were denied that opportunity to start in 2018,” Corcoran said. “While their (the citizens) passion is admirable, they need to direct it toward the current Baldwin County Board of Education and let them know their concerns. The reason we feel so strongly about it is because significant tax dollars are coming out of Gulf Shores and not being expended on our campuses.”

Corcoran went on to allege that Baldwin County Superintendent Eddie Tyler said it would not be fiduciarily responsible to the taxpayers to spend any money within the city limits of Gulf Shores because they are transitioning away.

“That’s irresponsible in my opinion because it’s our tax money,” Corcoran said. “Citizens of this city will pay over $5 million dollars just to the one cent sales tax penny that they pledged towards capital improvements. So, when I ask him (Tyler) to please continue with his $3.8 million-dollar renovation to the elementary school, he said ‘No, that would be irresponsible.’ And I said, ‘We’d have it paid for before you even build it.’”

Corcoran said he is encourage the county school board to employ safety tactics, such as enclosing the walkways. He said Tyler promised to do so in March of this year after the formation of a city school board. He also said he wants to continue pressure on the Baldwin County Board of Education.

“In my opinion, they wanted these students for another year- they darn sure better take care of them,” Corcoran said. “We need to push for safety measures at all three campuses.”

Tyler viewed the situation a bit differently than Corcoran.

“We proposed construction and renovations to Gulf Shores, and they chose to create their own school system,” Tyler said. “They are no longer part of the pay-as-you-go program and we have no additional funding available now. We have had numerous meetings over the past year and no time has Kevin Corcoran asked me to continue with the expansions nor have they offered to do any upgrades or enhancements as many other cities have done. If Mr. Corcoran or the Gulf Shores Superintendent would like to have a conversation with me I would be happy to speak with him.’’

Mayor Robert Craft asked if Corcoran and the board could establish a strategy for the City Council to ask the community to follow.

“It is a serious issue,” Craft said. “It is their responsibility. We were willing to start in ’18, and it would be ours. They opposed that. So, anything you think we can do- not just the City Council, but the community- give us a road map. We’ll follow it.”

Also discussed at the work session were:

- Authorize execution of agreement with Burr & Forman, LLP

for legal services and John T. Mooresmith, Attorney at Law for consulting services related to the establishment of a freestanding emergency department and other medical-related facilities.

- Annual City financial audit results - $ 2, 714,238 added to the City fund balance of $26,455,363 resulting in a fund balance at 2017 year-end of $29,169,601. No major findings were reported for the City. A significant control deficiency was found for lack of controls over cash including

Receipt of monthly bank statements and monthly bank reconciliation for the PEBA construction

project. The City has requested bank statements for the construction and bond accounts and begun reconciling the accounts to the general ledger monthly.

-Award Sportsplex Painting Contract to Spot On Painting in the amount of $43,350.