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Martha Casey McDowell

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Martha Casey McDowell
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Former candidate for
Candidate, Birmingham City School Board, District 5
Elections and appointments
Last electionAugust 27, 2013
Term limitsN/A
Martha Casey McDowell was a candidate for the District 5 seat on the Birmingham City School Board. She was defeated by Randall L. Woodfin on August 27, 2013.



McDowell ran for the District 5 seat on the Birmingham City School Board against fellow challenger Randall L. Woodfin. The election took place on August 27, 2013.

Election results

Birmingham City Schools, District 5 General Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngRandall L. Woodfin 70.4% 1,821
     Nonpartisan Martha Casey McDowell 29.6% 766
Total Votes 2,587
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?

All nine seats on the board were on the August 27, 2013 ballot. 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. These members were Emanuel B. Ford, Virginia S. Volker and Tyrone H. Belcher, Sr..[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]

State takeover

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

Birmingham City Schools is located in Jefferson County, Alabama
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 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

See also

External links

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