The Gulf Shores Board of Education said Dec. 20 State School Superintendent Eric Mackey will announce his final proposals on the separation agreement between Baldwin County and Gulf Shores in January.

“Dr. Mackey has clearly stated that his expectation of all parties is to make all efforts necessary to complete the final Separation Agreement on or before Jan. 18, 2019, as originally established by Interim State Superintendent Dr. Ed Richardson,” a news release said. That is one year and seven days after formal negotiations began.

On Dec. 18, dual press conferences in Robertsdale and Gulf Shores announced Mackey had decided on attendance rules for students living outside Gulf Shores but attending schools in the city. The proposal came out of the latest meeting Dec. 17 between Baldwin County, Gulf Shores and Mackey’s state team.

“It was a good meeting and determining which students are going where is a good thing,” Gulf Shores School Board President Kevin Corcoran said. “I am confident now that Dr. Mackey is fully engaged it will all come together quickly.”

Just two days later, Corcoran revealed just how quickly it would come. On Dec. 20 Gulf Shores City Schools sent out a news release detailing Mackey’s proposals on how personnel will be distributed and setting a starting date for Gulf Shores City Schools of June 1.

“The earlier we can take control of the buildings, the more improvements we can make to safety and conditions at the school prior to the start of the school year,” Corcoran said.

Left to address are issues concerning taxes and startup costs, Baldwin County Superintendent Eddie Tyler said Dec. 17.

“There’s a lot left to do,” Tyler said. “A whole lot left to do. You’ve got transportation issues, you’ve got facility issues. This will consume a large part during the second half of this school year between the two systems and getting all this worked out.”

Teachers wishing to remain in the county system can apply for a transfer to another school under the normal transfer rules, the release stated. Any teachers who move to Gulf Shores will retain their tenure and years of experience. Gulf Shores will be responsible for hiring its own principals.

In Mackey’s attendance proposal, students who will be juniors and seniors in the 2019-2020 school year who live outside Gulf Shores will finish at the school. Those entering the 10th grade for the same school year will have the option of attending school in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach.

The county’s new $26 million Orange Beach Middle/High School will not be ready until June 2020, so grades 7 through 10 — 10th graders who choose Orange Beach — will attend classes in a portable village on the campus of and across the street from Orange Beach Elementary. These will include students in grades K-9 from Fort Morgan who currently attend classes in Gulf Shores.