ROBERTSDALE, Ala. (WKRG) — The formation of a city school system in Gulf Shores just got a lot more contentious between the city and the Baldwin County Board of Education. The board filed suit Friday against the city school board, the Baldwin County Commission and State Superintendent Eric Mackey over funding, personnel and transportation issues.
“We’re not wailing or gnashing our teeth,” said counsel for Baldwin County Public Schools Don Beebe. “We are going to court.”
A 40-page lawsuit is a response to a deadline set by State Superintendent Eric Mackey to sign an agreement laying out the terms of the separation of the city of Gulf Shores School System from the Baldwin County Public Schools. “We didn’t ask for this split,” said Baldwin County Superintendent Eddie Tyler. “We’re being asked to basically pay everything for them to start up their school system.”
At issue, 4 million dollars of state education money allotted in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. “Gulf Shores decision is not our financial responsibility,” said Tyler.
The lawsuit also calls into question Mackey’s competency claiming he has “acted willfully, knowingly, maliciously, in bad faith and beyond his authority, and/or a mistaken interpretation of the law”.
The lawsuit also addresses what is called a “direct threat” to remove Tyler as Superintendent of Baldwin County schools if the agreement was not signed.
In the end, county school officials say they want only what’s best for both school systems but their priority has to be the more than 30 thousand remaining county school students. “We’re simply asking the courts, what’s the law? Who gets the taxes? Who gets the funding?” said Beebe.
School officials in Gulf Shores are prevented from commenting on pending litigation but the lawsuit is not expected to delay the start of school in Gulf Shores.
The case could be heard in a Baldwin County courtroom in the next month to six weeks.