AL BOE meeting gets heated over superintendent-elect’s contract

AL BOE meeting gets heated over superintendent-elect’s contract


I attended this meeting today and spoke in opposition to the Alabama State Board of Education taking action on the state superintendent’s contract. I informed the board that I was there to be the voice for more than 88,000 education retirees. I stated, “A contract is never a done deal. I urged them to do their due diligence on behalf of all public education students, personnel and retirees as this decision is critical to the future of Alabama’s public education.”  

Unfortunately, the board approved the contract, and Mr. Sentance is gainfully employed as of Monday, September 12. He will now sit on the TRS and PEEHIP Board of Controls and vote on matters important to all educators, both active and retired. The next TRS Board meeting is Tuesday, September 13 at 1 p.m. Please continue to stay informed and know that AERA is your voice at meetings across the state.

Janice J. Charlesworth
Executive Director
Alabama Education Retirees Association
800-537-6867 or 334-262-4177
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Thursday, September 8th 2016, 12:12 pm CDTThursday, September 8th 2016, 12:17 pm CDT

By Jennifer Horton, Reporter – MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) –

What was anticipated to be a standard Alabama State Board of Education meeting Thursday turned out to be anything but that. The major item on the agenda, voting on the contract of Superintendent-elect Michael Sentance, became a major source of controversy.

Board Vice President Dr. Yvette Richardson moved to add a new item to the agenda calling for an investigation into the dissemination of unauthorized, confidential information involving the selection of a new superintendent.

Richardson’s request, read aloud during the meeting, asked Attorney General Luther Strange’s office to investigate, requesting opinions from the AG and the Alabama Ethic’s Commission. Richardson went on to state the information was anonymously given to the board before the selection of a new state superintendent. 

The information has been called a smear campaign against candidate Craig Pouncey, who has denied the allegations. The anonymous allegations were given to the Alabama Ethics Commission prior to the vote. Gov. Robert Bentley has been vocal in stating his disdain for the sharing of this information. 

The Board voted against adding the investigation to the agenda, which would have led to members going into an executive session. The investigation will be discussed during a work session immediately following Thursday’s meeting. 

The Board opened up public comments on the contract, which was promptly halted due to the lack of dissemination of Sentance’s contract. 

After a short recess, contracts were circulated and the public was allowed to comment. Those comments ranged from support of Sentance to those who are concerned about his lack of qualifications.

The Board’s discussion on Sentance’s contract quickly became heated over the process to which he was selected. Sentance initially withdrew his application and then chose to re-enter the selection process.

Board member Ella Bell reported fellow board member Mary Scott Hunter contacted Sentance to ask him to rescind his withdrawal for the position. Legal counsel said it was within Sentance’s right to rescind. Gov. Bentley  stated the board condoned the action by their vote. 

The board voted to approve Sentance’s contract 7-2. 

Sentance said it’s been an interesting morning, thanked the Board for its vote, and said he looks forward to working with each of them.