School board approves contract despite restraining order

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The Birmingham School Board approved a contract Thursday afternoon to hire a new superintendent, despite a judge's order earlier in the day preventing the board from doing so.

The board approved the contract late Thursday afternoon on the advice of their attorneys who told the board the judge's restraining order was legally flawed. Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Dan King issued the temporary restraining order earlier in the day, barring the school board from approving the contract.

The judge's ruling came after a court hearing requested by Citizens for Better Schools, an advocacy group for education in Jefferson County. The group claims the Birmingham Board of Education violated open meetings law when it discussed, in private, a contract proposal for Dr. Craig Witherspoon to become the city's new school superintendent.

The board announced this week it had reached a deal with Witherspoon to hire him as the new superintendent of Birmingham City Schools. It approved the contract after a meeting Thursday afternoon with Witherspoon to discuss details of the contract.

Witherspoon is the superintendent for Edgecombe County Public Schools in rural Tarboro, N.C.