Alabaster, county unsure who will get SCISC

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Alabaster officials and officials with the Shelby County School System have not yet decided who will have possession of the county’s Instructional Services Center in Alabaster after the city voted recently to form its own school system.

The Alabaster City Council voted Oct. 17 to separate its schools from the county system and form a city school district. The Alabaster school board likely will take control of Meadow View Elementary, Creek View Elementary, Thompson Intermediate, Thompson Sixth Grade Center, Thompson Middle and Thompson High schools as early as 2013, council members said previously.

But city officials and Shelby County Schools Superintendent Randy Fuller said they are unsure who will retain possession of the Instructional Services Center after the split is finalized. The center, which is on U.S. 31 near its intersection with Alabama 119, currently houses the Shelby County Alternative School and regularly holds teacher development workshops and other special events.

Ward 6 Alabaster Councilman Scott Brakefield said a law cited by Dr. Ira Harvey, who was hired by the city to conduct a city schools feasibility study, would give Alabaster ownership of every Shelby County school facility within its city limits after the split.

“The way that Dr. Harvey presented it to us is that all the buildings, all the books and all the buses that are in the city will come to us,” Brakefield said. “The way I understand it, anything that is in the city limits will be ours.”

Brakefield said the city and the county are debating the fate of the Instructional Services Center because it does not currently serve as a traditional school building.

“It is my opinion that it will come to us. But it is also the opinion of the county school board that it will stay with them,” Brakefield said. “Having that building will give us a lot of flexibility as far as extra classroom space goes.

“But I think Dr. Harvey said it best in his presentation. We are basically negotiating a divorce with the county school system,” Brakefield added.

Fuller said possession of the Instructional Services Center will be up for negotiation during the separation process.

“Everything is going to be in that separation agreement. The buildings, the supplies, everything,” Fuller said.

Fuller said he was hesitant to discuss the separation until the county begins negotiating the separation with the Alabaster school board, which has not yet been appointed.

“It basically goes down to what we negotiate with their board,” Fuller said. “There are several steps that we have to follow through this process, and this is just the preliminary step.

“I think it would be really premature for us to say anything at this point in time,” Fuller added.