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Last updated 10:00PM ET
March 7, 2021
Birmingham Officials Say School Closings Inevitable
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - Birmingham education officials say they have no choice but to close schools in order to cut expenses. But local activists are criticizing the plan and say the area is being unfairly targeted.

The Birmingham system has been struggling financially for years. But a new state law now requires school systems to have at least one month's operating expenses in a reserve account.

That means Birmingham schools should have $19.5 million. But the system has only $2.8 million in reserves, making it short $16.7 million.

Ronald Jackson is the executive director of the grass-roots group Citizens for Better Schools. He said the state is "unfairly singling out Birmingham" by telling the board to close 20 schools. He said there are 27 other school systems in the state that don't meet the new state guidelines for reserves.

Craig Pouncey is the assistant state superintendent for administrative and financial services. He said the other 27 systems were required to implement a cost-savings plan to grow their reserve funds. But he added that none were in the dire straits that Birmingham is in.

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