Alabaster BOE set to begin negotiations with county

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Alabaster Board of Education likely will begin formal separation negotiations with the Shelby County Board of Education within the next several weeks, Alabaster board members said during an Aug. 2 work session.

During the work session, outgoing Jefferson County Superintendent Dr. Phillip Hammonds, who has been hired to serve as a temporary consultant for the Alabaster Board of Education, said he has spoken with Shelby County Superintendent Randy Fuller about the pending separation.

“I called Mr. Fuller, and had a wonderful conversation with him as we looked toward the future,” Hammonds said. “The next step will be getting an analysis from (Alabaster School Board financial consultant) Dave Smith. That will tell us where we will be one or two years from now, and will give us realistic projections.”

Hammonds said he will look to begin meeting with Shelby County Schools officials to begin separation negotiations after reviewing the financial numbers provided by Smith.

“I would think (the negotiations will start) within a month to six weeks,” Hammonds said, noting it is “within the realm of possibility” for most of the negotiations to be completed as early as January or February 2013.

“Once we get that first meeting set (with Shelby County), I think the momentum will pick up and that everyone will come to the table in good faith and do what’s best for the students,” Hammonds said.

Alabaster School Board members have not yet finalized its split date with Shelby County Schools.

Hammonds currently is the full-time superintendent of the Jefferson County School System, but is serving as an advisor to the Alabaster Board of Education during his off and personal days and on nights and weekends, he said.

Hammonds said the Jefferson County Board of Education is set to hire his replacement as early as October. Before he was hired by the Alabaster School Board, he had already announced he planned to retire from the Jefferson County School System in early 2013.