Birmingham City Schools, Alabama

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Birmingham City Schools
Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham City Schools seal.png
District Profile
Superintendent:Craig Witherspoon
Enrollment:25,798 students
Graduation rate:56.0%
Number of schools:49
Budget: $265.7 million
Website:School Home Page
Board of Education
Board president:April Myers Williams
Board members:9
Term length:4

Birmingham City Schools is a school district in Alabama that serves the city of Birmingham. It is the sixth-largest school district in Alabama serving 25,914 students (as of 2013) in 49 schools.[1]

About the district

The Birmingham City School District was created in 1910 when the Alabama State Legislature passed a bill creating Greater Birmingham. Through this bill, 40 schools were annexed by the Birmingham Free School, most of them substandard and in disrepair. Birmingham City Schools is now comprised of 51 schools including 25 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, seven K-8 schools, seven high schools, and one alternative school.[2]


Birmingham City Schools is located in Jefferson County, Alabama
Birmingham City School District is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama, located northeast of the capital, Montgomery. According to the 2010 US Census, Birmingham is home to 212,237 residents.[3]


Jefferson County outperforms the rest of Alabama in terms of median household income, poverty rates and higher education achievement in 2011. The median household income for Jefferson County is $45,750 when compared to $42,934 for the state of Alabama. The percentage of people below poverty level for Jefferson County is 16.2% while it is 17.6% for the state of Alabama. The 2010 U.S. Census also found that 29.0% of Jefferson County residents aged 25 or older attained a bachelor's degree compared to 22.0% in Alabama[4]

Racial Demographics, 2012[4]
Race Jefferson County (%) Alabama (%)
White 54.3 70.0
Black or African American 42.6 26.5
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.4 0.7
Asian 1.5 1.2
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 1.1 1.5
Hispanic or Latino 3.9 4.1

Presidential Voting Pattern[5]
Year Democratic Vote Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote Republican Vote (%)
2012 159,876 52.50 141,683 46.53
2008 166,121 52.15 149,921 47.07
2004 132,286 45.15 158,680 54.16
2000 129,889 47.45 138,491 50.59

Note: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.[6]


The current superintendent of Birmingham City Schools is Craig Witherspoon, Ed.D.. He is the former superintendent of Edgecombe County Schools in North Carolina. He succeeded interim Superintendent Barbra Allen in March 2010. Witherspoon's contract is valid through June 30, 2015, he receives a base salary of $196,266 with retirement benefits and a $500/month car allowance.[7]

In July 2012, the Board of Education voted 5-3 in favor of firing Superintendent Witherspoon. The vote was overruled by Alabama Department of Education Superintendent Tommy Bice.[8]

School board

Birmingham City Schools are overseen by a nine member board elected to four year terms. School board members are not paid for their services.
Current Birmingham City Public School Board members include:[9]

Birmingham City Board of Education
School board member District Term Term Expires
Sherman Collins, Jr. District 1 1 2017
Lyord Watson, Jr. District 2 1 2017
Brian Giattina Vice-President District 3 2 2017
Daagye Hendricks District 4 1 2017
Randall L. Woodfin District 5 1 2017
Cheri A. Gardner District 6 2 2017
Wardine T. Alexander District 7 1 2017
April M. Williams, President District 8 2 2017
Sandra K. Brown District 9 2 2017

The Alabama Public School System is supervised by the State Board of Education. The Board President is Governor Bob Riley and the State Superintendent is the Board’s Chief Executive Officer.[10]

Current Board of Education members include:

Alabama State Board of Education
Member District Term Term Expires
Governor Robert J. Bentley, President
Tommy Bice, State Superintendent of Education, Secretary and Executive Officer
Tracy Roberts District 1 1st 2013
Betty Peters District 2 2nd 2015
Stephanie Bell District 3 2nd 2013
Yvette Richardson, Ed.D. District 4 1st 2015
Ella B. Bell, President Pro Term District 5 2nd 2013
Charles E. Elliott, M.D., Vice President District 6 1st 2015
Jeffery Newman District 7 1st 2015
Mary Scott Hunter District 8 1st 2013


The table below displays the budget for Birmingham City School District:[11]

Expenditures by Category
School Year Staff Expenses Student Services Operational Expenses Debt Service Other Budget Total
Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget
2010-2011 $207,886,926 54.7% $0 0% $71,857,976 18.9% $5,253,261 1.4% $94,788,447 25% $379,786,610
2011-2012 $190,823,690 55.5% $0 0% $68,689,491 20% $4,975,410 1.4% $79,119,835 23% $343,608,426
2014-2015 $130,475,285 49.1% $42,916,238 16.1% $28,922,193 10.9% $5,307,382 2% $58,158,088 21.9% $265,780,186
Averages: $176,395,300.33 53% $14,305,412.67 4% $56,489,886.67 17% $5,178,684.33 2% $77,355,456.67 23% $329,725,074

Teacher salaries

Birmingham City Schools employed 1,612 teachers during the 2011-12 school year.[12] This chart is according to a 9 month, 187 day Schedule 16 for teachers and curriculum coaches[13]

The non-degree salary schedule pertains to some full-time instructional employees who provide daily instructions in select military and/or career technical areas. All State and Board requirements and/or mandates for employment are still applicable.

Schedule 16

Salary structure
Step Bachelor's Degree ($) Master's Degree ($) AA Degree ($) Doctoral Degree($) Non-Degree Degree ($)
1 36,780.00 41,788.00 45,494.00 49,552.00 36,780.00
2 37,042.00 42,050.00 45,756.00 49,814.00 37,042.00
3 40,876.00 46,465.00 50,446.00 54,505.00 40,876.00
4 41,185.00 46,723.00 50,706.00 54,768.00 41,185.00
5 41,469.00 47,298.00 51,280.00 55,337.00 41,469.00
6 43,286.00 49,286.00 53,389.00 57,565.00 43,286.00
7 43,849.00 49,851.00 53,953.00 58,129.00 43,849.00
8 44,459.00 50,460.00 54,563.00 58,741.00 44,459.00
9 45,022.00 51,023.00 55,124.00 59,303.00 45,022.00
10 45,606.00 51,608.00 55,710.00 59,891.00 45,606.00
11 46,173.00 52,220.00 56,321.00 60,504.00 46,173.00
12-14 47,011.00 53,036.00 57,178.00 61,356.00 47,011.00
15-23 47,459.00 53,543.00 57,706.00 61,944.00 47,459.00
24-26 47,944.00 54,078.00 58,241.00 62,479.00 47,994.00
27+ 48,529.00 54,631.00 58,776.00 63,014.00 48,529.00


The Alabama Education Association (AEA) is the teachers union for the State of Alabama.[14] The AEA is affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA).[15]

Schools in Birmingham City


Birmingham City Schools serves 24,877 students in 49 schools. The school district has experienced a significant decrease in the number of students enrolled since 2000.[16]

Total enrollment
Year Enrollment Year-to-year change (%)
2004-2005 31,774
2005-2006 30,601 -3.7
2006-2007 29,128 -4.8
2007-2008 27,942 -4.1
2008-2009 27,517 -1.5
2009-2010 26,748 -2.8
2010-2011 25,798 -3.6
2011-2012 25,006 -3.0
2012-2013 24,877 -0.5

District schools

Birmingham City Schools operates 43 schools listed below in alphabetical order.[17]

Birmingham City Schools
Name Grades
Arrington Middle School 6-8
Avondale Elementary School K-5
Barrett Elementary School K-5
Brown Elementary School K-5
Bush Middle School 6-8
Bush Hills Academy K-8
Carver High School 9-12
Central Park Elementary School K-5
Christian Alternative School K-8
Epic Elementary School K-5
Glen Iris Elementary School K-5
Green Acres Middle School 6-8
Hayes K-8 School K-8
Hemphill Elementary School K-5
Hudson K-8 K-8
Huffman Academy K-5
Huffman Middle School 6-8
Huffman High School 9-12
Inglenook School K-8
Jackson-Olin High School 9-12
Jones Valley K-8 K-8
Kennedy Alternative School 6-12
Lewis Elementary School K-5
Martha Gaskins K-5 K-5
Minor Elementary School K-5
Mitchell Middle School 6-8
Oliver Elementary School K-5
Parker High School 9-12
Phillips Academy K-8
Princeton Alternative K-5
Putnam Middle School 6-8
Ramsay High School 9-12
Robinson Middle School 6-8
Smith Middle School 6-8
South Hampton Elementary School K-5
Sun Valley Elementary School K-5
Tuggle Elementary School K-5
Washington K-8 School K-8
Wenonah High School 9-12
West End Academy K-8
Wilkerson Middle School 6-8
Woodlawn High School 9-12
Wylam K-8 School K-8

Academic Performance

Alabama Student Assessment Program

The Alabama Department of Education's Student Assessment Program tests students K – 12 in core content areas of reading, mathematics, language, and science, including specialist populations such as special education students and limited English proficient students.[18]

The Alabama Accountability Program sets Annual Measurable Objectives for schools and school systems. To achieve Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) toward system goals, schools must score at or above the set objectives and have at least a 95% participation rate amongst students. Students are tested in reading and mathematics. A school that misses AYP in the same area for two consecutive years is identified as In Improvement.[19]

AYP results for the State of Alabama and Birmingham City Schools are noted below.[20] Results for individual schools within each district can be accessed through the Accountability Reporting Query System on the Alabama State Department of Education website.[21]

State of Alabama Reading Scores 2011-2012[20] - Percent of Students in Each Achievement Level

Grade Level I Level II Level III Level IV
3rd 0% 20% 45% 34%
4th 1% 22% 40% 37%
5th 1% 22% 37% 41%
6th 1% 19% 30% 49%
7th 0% 25% 38% 37%
8th 1% 33% 42% 25%

State of Alabama Math Scores 2011-2012[20] - Percent of Students in Each Achievement Level

Grade Level I Level II Level III Level IV
3rd 5% 20% 27% 48%
4th 3% 19% 29% 49%
5th 0% 15% 34% 51%
6th 0% 40% 41% 19%
7th 0% 42% 35% 23%
8th 0% 28% 49% 22%

Level I - Does Not Meet Academic Content Standards.

Level II - Partially Meets Academic Content Standards.

Level III - Meets Academic Content Standards.

Level IV - Exceeds Academic Content Standards.

State of Alabama AYP Results 2011-2012[20]

District Made AYP?
State of Alabama
Birmingham City


Voting Rights Act lawsuit

On February 14, 2013, five plaintiffs including board members Virginia Volker and Emanuel Ford filed a lawsuit, seeking an injunction against the Alabama Department of Education, former state Superintendent Ed Richardson, and current state Superintendent Tommy Bice for violating section 5 of the Voter Rights Act. The lawsuit claims that the predominantly white State Board of Education overruled decisions made by the predominantly black Birmingham City Board of Education. Under the Voting Rights Act, changes to Alabama elections must be pre-approved by a federal judge. A decision is still pending.[22]

Rehire lawsuit filed

On January 22, 2013, a group of 101 former school district employees filed suit against the Alabama State Board of Education, Birmingham City Board of Education, Superintendent Craig Witherspoon, State Superintendent Tommy Bice, and former state Superintendent Ed Richardson over allegations that the job cuts that resulted in their termination were illegal. Bice, Richardson, and the State Board of Education were included in the lawsuit because the Birmingham City Board of Education vote to approve the cuts finished in a 4-4-1 tie, which was overruled by the state Board of Education.[23] The total number of plaintiffs has grown to 122. The lawsuit also alleges that employees were only granted 15 days severance rather than the 75 days of severance pay they are entitled to under the Students First Act.[24]

Superintendent Witherspoon fired

In July 2012, the Board of Education voted 5-3 in favor of firing Superintendent Witherspoon. The vote was overruled by Alabama Department of Education Superintendent Tommy Bice. The action was a violation of Witherspoon's contract which stipulated that a minimum of 60 days notice was necessary and the board was unable to place him on leave immediately.[25]

Board president arrested

On October 16, 2012 two separate warrants were issued for Birmingham City Board of Education President Edward Maddox for charges of using his political office for personal gain. It was alleged that Maddox used his position as President of the Woodlawn Neighborhood Association and as President of the Birmingham City Board of Education to vote in favor of measures that would grant his Woodlawn Missions charity funding as well as voting to raise his daughter's salary while serving in these positions. He agreed to plead guilty to both charges and resigned immediately from the Birmingham City Board of Education.[26]

State takeover

On June 26, 2012 the Alabama Department of Education assumed control of operations of Birmingham City Schools after the Birmingham City Board of Education failed to pass a measure that would have cut 100-200 employee jobs over two years and brought the system into compliance with state law.[27] The takeover was necessary after the Birmingham City Schools were found to be operating without the necessary one month of emergency funds which amounted to approximately $20 million. Former state Superintendent Ed Richardson was appointed to oversee day-to-day operations of the school district.[28]

Contact information

Birmingham City Schools seal.png
Birmingham City Schools
2015 Park Place North
Birmingham, AL 35203

Website evaluation

Last rated on November 13, 2012.

Meetings P
Elected Officials
Administrative Officials P
Contracts N
600px-Red x.png
Audits N
600px-Red x.png
Public Records P
Background Checks

School district websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

The good

  • Taxes
    • Revenue sources are listed in budget documents.[29]
  • Budget
    • Budget documents and check registers are posted going back 3 years.[29]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting agendas are posted for one year.[30]
  • Elected officials
    • Elected officials names' are listed.[31]
    • Phone numbers, personalized email addresses, and mailing addresses are available for elected officials.[31]
  • Administrative officials
    • An administrative staff directory includes staff email addresses.[32]
  • Public records
    • A public records request form is posted.[33]
  • Academics
    • Adequate Yearly Progress reports are posted.[34]
  • Background checks
    • Fingerprint and criminal background check procedures and documents are posted.[35]

The bad

  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes and agendas are not archived for 3 years.
    • A calendar of meetings is not available.
  • Administrative officials
    • Administrative telephone numbers are not consistently provided in the directory.
  • Contracts
    • Teacher salary schedules are not posted.
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is not posted.
    • Audits are not archived for at least three years.
  • Public records
    • A public records official is not listed with contact information.
  • Academics
    • Academic performance reports for the schools are not posted online.

See also

External links


  1. Birmingham City Schools, "Birmingham City Schools at a Glance" accessed July 17, 2013
  2. Birmingham City Schools, "History of the Birmingham City Schools" accessed July 16, 2013
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Guide to 2010 Census State and Local Geography - Alabama," accessed August 13, 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 United States Census Bureau, "Jefferson County Quick Facts," accessed August 13, 2013
  5. Alabama Secretary of State, "Elections Information," accessed August 14, 2013
  6. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  7., "Birmingham school board extends Superintendent Craig Witherspoon's contract by two years" accessed July 16, 2013
  8., "Birmingham school board decision to fire Superintendent Craig Witherspoon overturned (updated)" July 17, 2012
  9. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Board_Members
  10. ‘Alabama State Department of Education’, State Board of Education, July 16, 2013
  11. [file:///Users/dixonl/Downloads/SDE_approved_FY_2015_Budget.pdf Birmingham City Schools, "Combined Statement of Revenues, Expenditures and Charges in Fund Balances," accessed December 11, 2014]
  12. National Council on Teacher Quality, "Birmingham City Schools full report of Tr3 Data" accessed July 17,2013
  13. National Council on Teacher Quality, "Salary Schedule Certified Birmingham City Schools" accessed July 17, 2013
  14. 'Alabama Education Association', September 2, 2010
  15. 'National Education Association', September 2, 2010
  16., "" October 26, 2012
  17. Alabama Department of Education, "ALSDE: School Information: System School Listings" accessed July 17, 2013
  18. ‘Alabama State Department of Education’, Assessment and Accountability, September 1, 2010
  19. ‘Alabama State Department of Education’, Accountability Overview, September 2, 2010
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Alabama Department of Education, "Accountability Reporting," accessed July 18 2013
  21. ‘Alabama State Department of Education’, Chief State School Officer's Report, July 18, 2013
  22. Fox6 WBRC "School lobby, Birmingham BOE members file lawsuit against state board" February 14, 2013
  23., "101 former or current Birmingham school employees sue to get jobs back" January 22, 2013
  24., "Birmingham and state school boards seek dismissal of lawsuit by 122 seeking their old jobs back" May 15, 2013
  25., "Birmingham school board decision to fire Superintendent Craig Witherspoon overturned (updated)" July 17, 2012
  26., "Updated: Birmingham school board President Edward Maddox accused of using public office for personal gain" October 16, 2012
  27. Fox 6 WBRC "State will take over Birmingham schools starting Wednesday" June 26, 2012
  28. Weld for Birmingham, "State to take over Birmingham schools after board rejects job cuts" June 26, 2012
  29. 29.0 29.1 Birmingham City Schools, "Budget," accessed November 13, 2012
  30. Birmingham City Schools, "Meetings," accessed November 13, 2012
  31. 31.0 31.1 Birmingham City Schools, "Elected Officials," accessed November 8, 2012
  32. Birmingham City Schools, Staff Directory, accessed November 13, 2012
  33. Birmingham City Schools, "Public Records Request," accessed November 13, 2012
  34. Birmingham City Schools, "AYP," accessed November 13, 2012
  35. Birmingham City Schools, "Human Resources Documents," accessed November 13, 2012