BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Birmingham Board of Education voted Tuesday evening not to spend 750 thousand dollars to make improvements to Lewis Elementary school in North Birmingham. But their vote was negated when Dr. Ed Richardson exercised his State Takeover authority. The money will be spent.
Dr. Richardson is the state appointed CFO of Birmingham City Schools. He took the position to address financial problems in the school system.
Some board members Tuesday night argued, again, that the decision to close Norwood school and send children to Lewis Elementary school should never have happened. Parents and School Board members are concerned about recent EPA toxic testing at the school.
They are also concerned about the neighborhood around Lewis which is near heavy industry, the interstate and heavy truck traffic.
Birmingham School Board President, April Williams said, “That was the position of the board, putting our students in an environment conducive to learning that is not hazardous in any form.”
Richardson grew frustrated at the meeting as board members indicated they would not vote to spend the money for improvements. They argued the decision should never have been made in the first place.
Richardson said, “As far as I’m concerned the decision has been made. I know y’all didn’t vote for it, but it’s been approved.”
The Federal Environmental Protection Agency has tested the air around Lewis Elementary for suspected dangerous levels of toxins. Richardson said, “Although some of the (toxic) concerns register they do not exceed the threshold of safety.”