Birmingham Board of Education

The Birmingham Board of Education will get a 2nd chance to make a first impression this week. The new school board was sworn in Tuesday afternoon, but had to adjourn before doing anything because board members couldn't decided on a new president. They'll try again this week, but the delay has left several projects in limbo.

The board voted 4 times Tuesday for a new president, with the same results every time: no one with the 5 votes needed to become the new board leader.

"In my 8 years on this board, we've never had a continuation of the election of the position of president," said past president April Williams.

Williams withheld her vote after the first round, leaving the votes split 4-3 between Virginia Volker and Phyllis Wynne, with another past president W.J. Maye out of town. That could make for some intense behind the scenes lobbying heading into Wednesday's meeting where another round of voting is scheduled.

It is also delaying everything the board was supposed to take up last week, including approving the $9.2 million contract to start building the new Lee elementary School and demolish the old one.

Also on the unused agenda: accepting $38,185 worth of donations for programs like cheerleading and a breakfast club. Also left on the table, approving $186,619 in computer equipment for 2 schools.

When asked what message this sends to parents and voters who are expecting action on very troubling issues, finances being one of them, new member Tyrone Belcher saisd "We know we can, we're gonna talk about it. We have some good board members coming on, we just want different things. And I think once we talk about what we all want, then we can come together."

"I think it also says each board member individually, very focused and very serious about their role and picking the leader is a very important issue and I don't think any board member takes that lightly," Williams said.

The school board is scheduled to convene again Wednesday and take another round of votes for Board President.