AdvancED Recommends Hoover for Re-Accreditation

Here is the “Oral Exit Report” from AdvancED‘s External Review Team that would have been presented at the special called board meeting on February 13 that was canceled due to winter weather.

“Based on our findings from the review of evidence, this External Review Team recommends that Hoover City Schools continue to be an accredited school system, pending further review and final action by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission.”

Here is Hoover City Schools’ statement regarding AdvancED’s recommendation.


The Call to Arms – The July 15 Voicemail

As the community waits for Superintendent Andy Craig and the Hoover Board of Education to begin the strategic planning process outlined at the February 3 meeting, we thought it might be helpful to take a look back at how this whole thing began. The original call to arms.

No doubt there were many discussions prior to the July 15 recommendation and 4-1 board vote to discontinue buses, but the first the public heard about it was this: an automated voicemail sent to bus drivers around 7:00 p.m. that evening.

Though it is inaudible at points, here is the best job we could do with the transcript:

Good evening. This is a Transportation Department automated announcement service. (inaudible)

This is a special announcement. (inaudible) This is a special announcement.

Today’s educational foundation is to provide every child with special opportunities to make them successful.

Hoover City Schools is committed to ensuring all district children make the most of their given opportunity.

Therefore, due to increasing (inaudible) about transportation to and from school for our general education students and significant loss for (inaudible) funding HCS will discontinue general education transportation services beginning in August of the 2014-2015 school year.

Transportation services will continue throughout the current school year providing a yearlong window of opportunity for parents to arrange alternate transportation for their children, and allow transportation employees to (inaudible) if necessary.

Special education bus services will continue. The (inaudible) date for (inaudible) will be determined as part of the discontinuation of service process.

We know there are numerous questions. We currently don’t have all the answers.

Given all that has transpired, and the way our bus drivers and the greater community has been treated by school leaders, can we truly expect them to be upfront and transparent with this next planning process?

Given their refusal to answer simple questions at board meetings, hiding bids for transportation services taken weeks ago, are you comfortable that our school officials are acting in our children’s best interests?

Given the promises that were made, and subsequently broken, by Hoover Board of Education President Paulette Pearson at the December board meeting to sit down and discuss budget solutions with the community group that put hundreds of man-hours into reviewing financial documents to help solve what we were told was a financial crisis at the forum at Spain Park High School last August….do you trust these same people to handle it from here?

What makes you believe that these same leaders will treat our school community any differently in the future?


Why Does Hoover Need Temporary Bus Drivers?

Rhetorical question.

Here’s a table showing the number of bus drivers who have resigned, been hired, taken and/or returned from a leave of absence since the 4-1 vote to eliminate buses for general education students on July 15, 2013.

Bus Driver Breakdown

Net loss: 14 bus drivers. 

Buses have returned, but Hoover City Schools put out a bid to find a third party to recruit and hire bus drivers through the end of the current school year.

Wonder why the bus drivers aren’t coming back.

The bid was rejected, but the recommendation, approved by the BOE on February 3, authorizes the Superintendent to “negotiate the contract” for those temporary drivers.

Wonder why Hoover City Schools needs a third party to find bus drivers.

Hoover City Schools pays a Transportation Director (Coordinator of Pupil Transportation) more than $85,000 a year. In addition, there is a fully-staffed Human Resources department complete with Human Resources Director.

Why is a third party needed when the district already employs nearly half a million dollars worth of employees who should be able to recruit and hire bus drivers?

The Transportation Services Bid

Here are the details of what the bid was about.  Put out to bid on December 20, 2013.

“To assist in providing transportation to and from school safely, promptly and without interruption or incident, it is the desire of Hoover City Board of Education to contract with a highly qualified third-party Service Provider to fill temporary bus route assignments (“TRANSPORTATION SERVICES”).”

Apparently no one will apply to be a bus driver any more. Wonder why?

Bids? What Bids? – The Art of Evading the Public’s Questions

First you’ll see and hear the Hoover Board of Education Attorney Donald Sweeney tell the BOE that they shouldn’t answer any questions from the public during the public participation portion.

Then you’ll see and hear the BOE consider “bids” and omit any discussion of the second bid.

Then you’ll see and hear two citizens question what the bids were and Sweeney run interference to prevent the BOE from responding.

Then you’ll see and hear Superintendent Andy Craig tell a half-truth about the bid for “Transportation Services”.

What you will never see nor hear during the meeting is the BOE explaining to the public the reason the bid was needed and what “negotiations” Craig will now pursue.

Transportation Services Bid from Monday’s BOE Meeting?!?

Just when you thought it was safe to stay home from the Hoover Board of Education meetings…..

This recommendation was approved by the BOE last Monday:

Transporation Services Bid Memo_Page_1 Transporation Services Bid Memo_Page_2

This explains Hoover board attorney Donald Sweeney’s advice to the BOE to not answer questions. And it explains why no one would answer the citizen’s question about what bids were approved.

An information request has been submitted for the full details of the bid, Bid #2014-2. Will post it here when it is received.

Didn’t the BOE just tell us that there were no plans to contract bus services?

In other news, here’s the agenda from last Monday night’s meeting. It’s 22 pages long and includes financial reports and personnel reports. That’s new. Typically, it’s a one-page document.

And no, there was no mention on the agenda that any bid had anything to do with transportation services. Here’s what the public was given prior to the meeting on Monday night.

Pages from Hoover BOE Agenda Feb 3 2014

Government Appropriations for FY13 for 25 School Systems

The previous post showed FY13 collections for property and sales taxes for 25 school systems.

This chart shows how much city and/or county governments contributed to the same 25 school systems in FY13.

FY13 Appropriations for 25 School SystemsIt is important to understand the source of a school district’s revenue. It is also important to understand that sometimes there are restrictions placed on how the school district can spend the money appropriated (contributed) to it by a government body. For example, the full appropriation to Florence City School district is earmarked for capital expenditures for FY13.