Shelby Academy board members resign after school sale fails

Seven members of the Shelby Academy board of trustees resigned from the board June 1, one week after the board and school members voted in favor of selling the school.

Board President Paige Phillips, 1st Vice President James Duke, 2nd Vice President Sherry Vallides, Secretary Cathy Wood, Finance Chairman and Treasurer Debbie Oaks and Building and Grounds Committee members Linton Porter and James Baker announced their resignations from the board during a June 1 meeting at the school. Four board members still remain.

The resignations came about a month after the board voted 8-2 in favor of passing a resolution to sell the school on May 3.

The board then brought the resolution before the school’s membership during a May 24 meeting at the school, during which the resolution did not obtain the two-thirds majority vote necessary to pass, said Phillips.

Because the school membership did not approve the resolution by a two-thirds majority, the school has not been approved to be sold.

In early 2010, board and school members announced they planned to re-open Shelby Academy this fall. Shelby Academy closed its doors in August 2009, citing financial problems.

During the May 24 meeting, school officials told members “all alternative means of securing the proper funding to ensure a financially stable future for the (Shelby Academy) Corporation have been exhausted,” read the resignation letter signed by six of the seven resigning board members. Vallides resigned, but did not sign the resignation letter.

The current financial problems likely will keep the school from re-opening in fall 2010, said Phillips.

“I can definitely tell you that we are in no position nor scheduled to open any classes at this time,” Phillips said. “There are no teachers hired nor final documentation sent to DHR for approval on the preschool.”

The six resigning board members who signed the letter said they decided to leave the board after “much forethought and regret.”

“As alumni of Shelby Academy, and students enrolled during the founding year 1970, it disheartens us tremendously to find our alma mater in this dire financial situation,” read the letter.

The board members said they decided to resign because of conflicts with other board members, and said they felt they would be unable to “continue (the) legacy” established by the school’s founders.

“We feel it would be an ongoing conflict for each of us to remain on the board of trustees of Shelby Academy, when our principles and objectives differ from others involved,” read the letter.

In the letter, the six resigning members who signed it requested the school be sold, and said the money raised through the sale should be used to pay the school’s financial “obligations and liabilities.” They also said any money left over after the school fulfills its debts and obligations should be used to establish an endowed scholarship at the University of Montevallo.

“We feel there is no better way to show our appreciation to the university, and to our own alumni, as well as the community, than to offer financial aid through scholarships to students seeking a college degree,” the letter read.