Alabama Creates New Board To Oversee Two-Year Colleges
Elected State Education Panel No Longer Governs Colleges
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Gov. Robert Bentley has signed a bill that creates a new governing board for Alabama’s two-year college system.
Both the House and Senate passed the bill by wide margins.
The legislation removes the community college system from the oversight of the state Board of Education.
House sponsor Steve McMillan, a Republican, said it will help the system further improve workforce development for Alabama residents.
“Our best hope for meeting these education requirements, workforce requirements and skills requirements, and academic requirements will come from the existing facilities,” he said.
McMillan said the separate board would allow the Board of Education to focus its attention on K-12 education.
The state school board fought the legislation and in March unanimously approved a resolution opposing the legislation.
“Our two-year colleges are the reason we are no longer considered at the bottom of the economic barrel,” board member Ella Bell said in an interview after the vote.
Bentley swiftly apppointed the 11-member board. The appointments must be approved by the Alabama Senate.
Bell said she thinks efforts to remove the system from the board’s oversight are an unnecessary power grab by the Alabama Legislature’s Republican super majority.
“It is a very significant stream of money that comes to the twoyear college system that I think they desire to control,” Bell said.
McMillan said only a few states in the U.S. don’t already have boards like the one designed by the bill in the Alabama Legislature.
Some lawmakers said the two-year college system should be controlled by an elected board.
Bell said she didn’t think the board would be able to have any more focus on the two-year college system than the Board of Education already has.
The community college system consists of more than 25 institutions scattered across the state.