BY BRUCE BRANUM
The Greenville Standard
The Greenville City Council unanimously approved a resolution at the Monday, Nov. 8, meeting to enter into an agreement with the firm of Adams and Reese, LLC for representation in connection with consulting and legal services regarding city school system creation and separation for the city.
Before the vote to approve, Nash Campbell with Adams and Reese spoke to the council regarding his firms experience in the matters of creating city school systems for other municipalities.
Nash said, “I’ve helped create four city school systems in this state, including Saraland, Satsuma, Chickasaw and Gulf Shores. We have also assisted with some (cities) in the past that didn’t make it.”
He added, “Basically about 80% of my business is creating city school systems and specifically public education systems.”
He noted the ratings of the Butler County schools where McKenzie had B, Georgiana had a C, and Greenville was a D, saying, “There’s no excuse for that. You would be able to appoint a board and I think it would be in the interest of your schools.”
After speaking, Campbell entertained questions from the council.
Mayor Dexter McLendon said, “So, what we are doing is only hiring you to put something together and bring back the information so we can make a decision.”
He noted that hopefully at the first council meeting in January, the firm would be able to share that information and planned to have the meeting at LBW.”
Councilman Boris Thigpen asked, “What are some of the pros going with a city school system.”
Campbell replied, “In my opinion, the main pro is you’re going to have appointed non-paid officials running your school system. They are going to be doing everything at large. They are voting on the entire school system as a whole. They are not voting on their one little school that they are trying to be in charge of. They are voting on the whole school system.”
Councilman Jae’Ques Brown stated he had received calls from people about pushing children in the county to the county schools. He said, “We are not saying that’s what we are going to do…and I want to make it clear to those present.”
Campbell stated there were multiple ways to handle the issue, including out of district policies.
McLendon stated, “Anybody that has been going to Greenville High School can continue going to Greenville High School or any other school.”
He noted he would never vote for a city school if it that were the case.
McLendon said after the meeting, “We have explored creating a city school before and that was in 2010. We want to have the best school system possible and that is what we are exploring.”