Board of Education to hold OB school system presentation

On the heels of an Orange Beach funded study into the founding of an independent city-run school system, the Baldwin County Board of Education is holding a work session Tuesday, March 18, at 5 p.m. at Orange Beach Elementary to discuss the move.

The board, which has held work sessions at schools across the county for several months, will conduct a brief presentation related to the independent school system.

Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon said the meeting was scheduled at the same time as the city’s regularly scheduled city council meeting. However, he plans to call the meeting to recess to attend the Baldwin County Board of Education’s presentation.

The idea of the city of Orange Beach getting its own school system has moved past a simple suggestion.

A study is currently underway to determine the city can afford it.

Mayor Tony Kennon said the city is unhappy with the current state of education and the funding put into Orange Beach schools versus the money it provides the county.

“First off, we’re not re-inventing the wheel. This has been done all over the state of Alabama with the same result,” said Kennon, “They had quality education which was better than the system they broke away from and the economy boomed in the town that formed the system.”

Terry Wilhit, with the Baldwin County Board of Education, said the presentation will address that very issue.

“Anything that’s done well, looks easy. It looks easy to run a school system and it’s not. It’s complicated, expensive and comprehensive. A community needs to know what all is at stake,” Wilhite said.

Christina McInnis has four children and has lived in Orange Beach for years. She says she supports the idea of an independent system.

“I believe in Orange beach doing what they want to do by making education excellent with this school system,” said McInnis, “I’m very interested to hear what the county has to say because it might be a win/win for everyone. It might be a good business decision for them and for the city.”

Education officials say Baldwin County schools, including Orange Beach Elementary, have been recognized nationally for their excellence.

“We applaud everyone that asks how to have a better school system but they need to know what’s involved. There are many other questions at stake too and we look forward to asking those at the meeting,” Wilhite said.

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