Shelby County BOE approves separation agreement with Pelham

By GINNY COOPER / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA—The Shelby County BOE approved a separation agreement with a three to one vote, officially separating Pelham City Schools from the Shelby County School System.

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“We’re in this for our students, regardless of the decisions of any of the adults,” Shelby County Superintendent Randy Fuller said during the meeting. “We want all schools to be successful as we move forward.”

Steve Martin, the only board member to vote against the agreement, expressed concern for students who attended Chelsea or Oak Mountain before the separation. Due to zoning, some students from the area will now be slated for Pelham schools.

“(There are) students in Chelsea who this is not in the best interest of,” Martin said. “This is not good for the kids, and it’s not good for the parents.”

Under the separation agreement, Pelham students who attended Chelsea or Oak Mountain schools during the 2013-2014 academic year and those starting at those schools for the 2014-2015 academic year may continue there through graduation.

Martin expressed concern that children who are neighbors will not necessarily attend the same school system.

“I’m not opposed to Pelham, but I’m opposed to hurting the kids of Chelsea,” Martin said, before voting against the agreement.

Fuller addressed the issue during the meeting, and said the agreement is intended to “protect families and students that are there.”

The separation agreement, which was approved by both the Shelby County and Pelham Boards of Education on June 5, will enable the Pelham Board of Education to begin operating as an independent school district on July 1.