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Joy A. Smith

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Joy A. Smith
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Former candidate for
Birmingham City School Board, District 6
Bachelor'sAuburn University
J.D.University of Alabama School of Law

Joy A. Smith is a former candidate for the District 6 seat on the Birmingham City School Board in the August 27, 2013 election.


Smith currently resides in Birmingham, Alabama. She earned her bachelor's degree at Auburn University and her J.D. at the University of Alabama School of Law. She is an attorney.



Smith sought the seat held by incumbent board member W. J. Maye Jr., who did not seek re-election. In addition to Smith, four other candidates sought the same seat: Lavon Beard, Cheri A. Gardner, Gwendolyn Thomas Bell and Ervin Philemon Hill Sr. The election was held on Tuesday, August 27, 2013. Smith came in last place place behind Cheri A. Gardner, Gwendolyn Thomas Bell, Lavon Beard and Ervin Philemon Hill Sr. Gardner and Bell both advanced to a runoff election held on October 8, 2013.

Birmingham City Schools, District 6 General Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngCheri A. Gardner 35.2% 1,231
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngGwendolyn Thomas Bell 25.7% 898
     Nonpartisan Lavon Beard 17.1% 598
     Nonpartisan Ervin Philemon Hill Sr. 12.9% 450
     Nonpartisan Joy A. Smith 9.2% 320
Total Votes 3,497
Source: Birmingham Office of the City Clerk, "City Election - August 27, 2013," accessed August 28, 2013

What was at stake?

Nine seats, including every board officer position, were at stake. Incumbents Carol E. Clarke, W. J. Maye Jr. and Phyllis F. Wyne did not seek re-election.[1]

Gang of Five

Three members of the controversial "Gang of Five" coalition of board members that attempted to oust Superintendent Witherspoon were on the ballot. All three were defeated. These members were Emanuel B. Ford, Virginia S. Volker and Tyrone H. Belcher, Sr., who all ran contested races.[1] Ford and Volker are also plaintiffs in a lawsuit that seeks an injunction against the Alabama State Board of Education, Ed Richardson and State Superintendent Tommy Bice. The suit alleges that the majority Caucasian State Board of Education overruled decisions made by the majority African American Birmingham City Schools Board of Education.[2] According to the Voting Rights Act, changes to Alabama elections must be pre-approved by a federal judge. A decision in this lawsuit is still pending.[3]


Student enrollment has dropped from 35,000 in 2000 to less than 25,000 in 2013.

On June 26, 2012, the Alabama Department of Education assumed control of Birmingham City Schools after the school board failed to pass a measure that would have cut hundreds of jobs over two years to bring the district into compliance with state law.[4] The discovery that schools in the district were operating without the mandated month of emergency reserve funds, which amounted to approximately $20 million, was another contributor to the state takeover.[5] The Alabama State Board of Education appointed former State Superintendent Ed Richardson to oversee the district. Working with the state board, Richardson has overridden several Birmingham Board of Education votes, including votes regarding the method of building consolidation and layoffs of over 100 employees. Since the takeover, the school board has consolidated seven schools and six office buildings in an effort to save the district approximately $8 million.[5]

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.[6]


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.[7]


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 Iowa[8]

Racial Demographics, 2012[8]
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[9]
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

About District 6

District 6 is one of nine single member electoral districts on the Birmingham City School Board. It is home to two schools[10]: Hemphill Elementary (K-5) and Booker T. Washington K-8 (K-8). District 6 primarily includes the West End of Birmingham.

See also

External links

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