City to start accepting applicants for school board

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Members of the Alabaster City Council’s Education Committee said the city likely will begin accepting applicants for the first Alabaster board of education on Nov. 21, and will work to have the board seated in February 2012.

The announcement came during a Nov. 9 Education Committee meeting, during which committee members discussed qualifications for the school board and laid out a tentative timeline for appointing the board.

Councilman and committee member Scott Brakefield said the city will require school board applicants to submit a résumé and a letter of interest. Applicants may also have to complete a specialized application.

After the city closes the application period on Dec. 31, the Education Committee will interview applicants beginning in January before narrowing the pool to a determined number.

The City Council will then interview the remaining applicants before appointing five board of education members.

Whit Colvin, an attorney with the Bishop, Colvin, Johnson and Kent law firm, which was recently appointed to represent the city during its separation from the county school system, recommended the city not pay board members initially.

“That will help ensure people are in it for the right reasons,” said Councilwoman and committee member Sophie Martin. “It’s going to be a major undertaking. We need someone willing to sacrifice a lot of time to make this (school district) successful.”

Board members likely will be reimbursed for training classes, mileage and other board-related expenses, committee members said.

Although the committee members considered requiring a college degree for all school board applicants, they decided to open the application to “anybody and everybody” who lives in Alabaster’s city limits.

“My thinking is, if you’ve got someone who is passionate and committed to it and they have the education background, and you’ve got someone with a college degree who doesn’t have all those things, how big of a part does a degree play in a board such as this?” Martin said.

Committee members said they will look for applicants with “good financial sense, good management skills and an educational background.”

“They need to care about our children and care about the city, and be willing to work to make it happen,” Martin said.