As both the Baldwin County and Gulf Shores boards of education met to consider a final separation agreement between the two on Jan. 17, another significant event occurred that affected both meetings.
While Gulf Shores was signing and passing the agreement handed down by State Superintendent Eric Mackey, Baldwin County’s board voted to recommend its Superintendent Eddie Tyler seek a legal remedy for $7 million in payroll and sales tax revenue Mackey recommended be paid to Gulf Shores. The county believes Gulf Shores is not entitled to the money.
Also, during the Baldwin meeting, Tyler recommended and the board voted to transfer Gulf Shores High School Principal Cindy Veazey and Gulf Shores Middle School Principal Kyle McCartney to Orange Beach. When parents, students and staff from Gulf Shores heard this news there were audible gasps and much rumbling from the capacity crowd.
Fast forward to Monday, Jan. 28, and a special called meeting of the Gulf Shores school board. During that meeting, Dr. Matt Akin made his recommendations for the principals for Gulf Shores High and Gulf Shores Middle schools.
“We hired Mrs. Veazey and Mr. McCartney,” Akin confirmed in a text to Lagniappe. “We actually approved their hiring and the terms of their contract will be approved at the next meeting.”
Both announcements were met with cheers and applause in the same chamber where the word of the pair’s transfer were greeted with dismay.
Tyler said 81 people applied for the two Orange Beach positions before he and his board voted to transfer Veazey and McCartney effective Feb. 1 or this Friday.
“Kyle and Cindy’s experience in the community was a strong determining factor in their selection for the two principal positions at the new Orange Beach Middle/High school,” Tyler said at the time of the transfer. “Both were aware that I was recommending them for these two positions.”
Orange Beach will eventually get a brand new school to house seventh through 12th graders but it won’t be ready until the start of the 2020-21 school year. Until then the county plans on putting a portable village on a city-owned lot across from Orange Beach Elementary School.
The village will house incoming seventh through 10th graders for the 2019-20 school year but 10th graders have a choice. They and their parents must decide by Feb. 1 if they want to continue at Gulf Shores High School or go to Orange Beach High School. This includes any students outside of the city limits of Gulf Shores including those from Fort Morgan, Ono Island and other unincorporated areas of Baldwin County inside the current Gulf Shores feeder pattern.
Incoming 11th and 12th graders will be allowed to continue at and graduate from Gulf Shores High School, officials said.
In Gulf Shores, Akin and his board have several more important hires to concentrate before starting to fill the teaching staff. They are looking for a chief school financial officer as well as a principal for Gulf Shores Elementary.