Alabama State School Board members and postsecondary education officials participate in a work session today in Montgomery. (Evan Belanger/Alabama Media Group)
-- For a second time in as many days, the Alabama State Board of Education has canceled scheduled meetings because not enough members showed up to legally conduct business.
A spokeswoman for the Alabama Department of Education said all business scheduled for the board's K-12 meeting at 1 p.m. today and a postsecondary meeting at 3 p.m. will be carried over to be board's next meetings slated for Feb. 12.
The two scrubbed meetings were initially scheduled for Wednesday, but with only four of eight members available, they were pushed back until today. At least five members must be present for the board to conduct business.
State Superintendent Tommy Bice said he did not recall anytime in the past when the board was unable to do business because too few members were available.
"There are a variety of reasons why some of the board members were not here. I'm not here to question that," he said.
However, Bice added, the cancellation does put education business behind schedule.
"There are some very timely things on our agenda that we needed to get done, but as things occur, we'll just adjust and deal with them in a different way."
School board members Charles Elliott of Decatur, Mary Scott Hunter of Huntsville, Yvette Richardson of Fairfield and Ella Bell of Montgomery were present and able to conduct K-12 and postsecondary work sessions today, which do not require a majority of the board to be present.
Board members said Wednesday that fellow board member Stephanie Bell of Montgomery was unable to attend because she was stranded during air travel.
They also said members Jeffery Newman of Millport was unable to attend due to illness, Betty Peters of Kinsey was unable to attend due to a serious illness in her family and Tracy Roberts of Spanish Fort had a prior engagement scheduled in advance.
The cancellation puts off a key vote to adopt new social studies textbooks after some concerned citizens complained last month that some of the books were pro-Islamic.
It also delayed consideration of proposed revisions to the state's courses of study for math and English that school officials said were intended to tweak the state's common core standards.
Bice said it also put off some personnel decisions that were crucial to providing support at priority schools.
During a work session Hunter said she had planned to miss the next meeting in February because her husband is leaving on a military deployment, but she would change those plans if it appeared the board would fail reach a quorum without her.
Ella Bell said she was "very, very disappointed" they were not able to have the meetings.
"We just need to work very diligently to ensure that we have a quorum to do the business for which we were elected," she said.
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