State days away from deciding on Gulf Shores school split
BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WPMI) —
We're just days away from a decision from the state of Alabama on whether the Gulf Shores School District split will happen this Fall.
Baldwin County schools is fighting the timing of the split, hoping to delay it to next year.
NBC 15 News investigates how many of your tax dollars have been spent during this district dispute.
The final numbers aren't in just yet, but already these districts have spent several thousand taxpayer dollars on legal fees trying to determine who is right. The Baldwin County school system's website shows the latest legal bill in regards to the Gulf Shores city school split.
Nearly $5,000 was paid to the Stone Crosby law firm last month, approved and signed by the board.
We caught up with Baldwin Superintendent Eddie Tyler to ask about that expense. "Every month the bill comes forward. I review the bills, the board see the bills and the public sees the bills. You know not every school system puts those bills out there or the public. If they want it they can request it," said Tyler.
The county school board also hired an additional legal team, the Atchison Firm out of Mobile. They have not billed the county yet.
Meanwhile, the Gulf Shores City School Board is getting ready to move into its new central office, but because the split isn't official yet, it isn't getting its own funding. It's using a special pot of money, $2 million was set aside by the City Council to get the city school system on its feet, and the city expects a reimbursement. So far out of that pot, the city has spent $40,000 in legal and consulting fees related the formation of a city school system.
Tyler says all of this is an unnecessary use of your tax dollars.
"Right now we wouldn’t be talking about legal fees if this was not something that they felt they needed to do. I respect that. Please understand I respect that, as far as taxpayer dollars going toward this it’s part of doing business," said Tyler.
Some in Gulf Shores feel the same way- that if Baldwin wasn't fighting the split, the attorney bills would be much smaller.
Baldwin County Schools also pays a consulting fee to a company called Strategy Public Relations. Those numbers were not available either.
We should know by next week if the split will happen. The State Superintendent is expected to make his decision.