Rick Rhoades speaks with Pelham City Council members during his Oct. 29 school board interview. Rhoades is one of 10 school board candidate finalists. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)
Rick Rhoades speaks with Pelham City Council members during his Oct. 29 school board interview. Rhoades is one of 10 school board candidate finalists. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Archived Story

How do school board candidates feel about Pelham-Chelsea attendance?

Published 10:26am Thursday, October 31, 2013

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The majority of Pelham’s school board candidate finalists said they would support allowing Pelham residents who currently attend Chelsea schools to continue doing so after Pelham forms its own school system, as long as the plan is approved in the separation agreement.

While interviewing the 10 Pelham school board finalists on Oct. 29, City Council members asked each candidate to share their thoughts on the matter.

Currently, some Pelham residents who live in subdivisions off Shelby County 11 are zoned for Chelsea schools. While negotiating Pelham’s split from the Shelby County School System, the city and county school systems will decide if those students will be allowed to continue attending Chelsea schools after the split.

-Candidate Angie Hester said “it would be a shame to pull those students out of the schools they are in now,” and said she would support allowing the students to continue attending Chelsea schools.

-Paul Howell said the two school boards should “do what is in the best interest of the students,” and said the Shelby County School System would have “a great degree of autonomy in this decision.”

-Senitra Cook Blackburn said those residents purchased their homes knowing they were zoned for Chelsea schools, and said she would support allowing them to stay in Chelsea schools.

-Rick Rhoades said Pelham and Shelby County could work toward an agreement to allow the students to continue attending Chelsea schools until Pelham is able to “build a school that is more centrally located” to them.

-Amy Bradley said she sympathized with the parents of those students, and said she would like to work with the county school system to find a “long-term solution.”

-Jane Germek said she would challenge the residents to help find a solution to the issue.

“They need to get together and make a change together and determine what they need to do,” Germek said.

-Gregg Vinson said he would support allowing the students to continue attending Chelsea schools if Pelham and Shelby County agree to those terms.

-Dr. Barbara Regan said she would support allowing the students to continue in their current schools “if it presents no financial burden to Pelham.”

-Jim Sumpter said he would be comfortable with the decision Pelham reaches with the Shelby County School System during the separation negotiations.

-Brian Long said he would support allowing the students to continue attending Chelsea schools if they are allowed to do so, but said he would “welcome them with open arms” if they are not allowed to do so.

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