Martha Casey McDowell
|Martha Casey McDowell|
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|Former candidate for|
|Candidate, Birmingham City School Board, District 5|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||August 27, 2013|
|Birmingham City Schools, District 5 General Election, 4-year term, 2013|
|Nonpartisan||Randall L. Woodfin||70.4%||1,821|
|Nonpartisan||Martha Casey McDowell||29.6%||766|
|Source: Birmingham Office of the City Clerk, "City Election - August 27, 2013," accessed August 28, 2013 These results are unofficial and not certified. They will be updated once certified results are available.|
What was at stake?
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. These members were Emanuel B. Ford, Virginia S. Volker and Tyrone H. Belcher, Sr.. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
About the districtAlabama 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.
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.
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
- Marissa Mitchell, ABC 3340, "Qualifying candidates for Birmingham mayoral, city council, school board races," July 12, 2013
- Kent Faulk, AL.com, "Birmingham group: state should be ordered to get federal approval to override city school board votes," June 22, 2013
- Fox 6 WBRC "School lobby, Birmingham BOE members file lawsuit against state board" February 14, 2013
- Sherea Harris and Brianne Britzius, Fox 6 WBRC, "State will take over Birmingham schools starting Wednesday," July 3, 2012
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Cite error: Invalid
- Birmingham City Schools, "History of the Birmingham City Schools" accessed July 16, 2013
- United States Census Bureau, "Guide to 2010 Census State and Local Geography - Alabama," accessed August 13, 2013
- United States Census Bureau, "Jefferson County Quick Facts," accessed August 13, 2013
- Alabama Secretary of State, "Elections Information," accessed August 14, 2013
State of Alabama
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