Board members ask interim superintendent to stay

Birmingham school board members are publicly pressuring the school system's interim superintendent to stay on through this year.

Board members made their pitch at a town hall meeting tonight to discuss the system's new strategic plan. Barbara Allen has pledged to stay on through December 31st, but she says she doesn't want to extend her stay in the interim superintendent's job for a 3rd time. But board members Tuesday tonight say convincing her to stay the entire school year is critical to making the new strategic plan work.

School board members say they are in the final stages of putting together litmus tests that will give the public and the board a regular report card on whether the system is meeting its new goals. But that effort faces a serious roadblock if the woman who's helping implement the plan suddenly leaves in the middle of this year. That's what interim superintendent Barbara Allen has said she plans to do.

School board member Howard bay less tells FOX6 News, "It's really critical at this juncture that we not have two changes in leadership, and I certainly am hoping ms. Allen will stay on until a new superintendent is hired. And I certainly have been thrilled with the job she's done and believe she can begin rolling this out."

Allen was not at Tuesday night's meeting, but that did not stop board members from applying not-so-subtle pressure to try and convince her to stay on.

"She wants this plan to work, something she's worked hard on from the very beginning, so i don't think she will be leaving in the middle of it," said board member Phyllis Wynne.

The interim superintendent hasn't said yet whether she would be open to a 3rd extension of her current contract. The school board is working with a national search firm to try and find a new permanent superintendent, but they don't expect that person to be able to start until a year from now.