Pelham holds hearing on creating new school system


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PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It may be summer break for some teachers and students, but the city of Pelham still focused on education.

Pelham is continuing to take steps to start its own public school system.

On Monday night, the Pelham City Council held its first public hearing on the possibility.

The hearing produced a packed house in the Pelham Municipal Courtroom.

Hundreds of parents gathered, anxiously waiting to hear what and how the city is planning to move forward with a new school system.

Council President Rick Hayes says the council is taking the process, which will result in a major decision either way, slow.

“This is the first public hearing to start discussing whether a city school system for Pelham makes sense or doesn’t make sense,” Hayes said on Monday.

However, for parents, such as Jack Donovan, it’s a much bigger deal.

Donovan considers himself and his family Chelsea residents, but his home rests inside the Pelham city limits.

“You know, we have three children that are in Chelsea schools, and I have one with special needs that’s been here since the Eclipse program,” Donovan stated.

He acknowledges that it would be hard enough to move his two young children to a different school, but it could traumatize his 13-year-old son, Jack, because of his Down syndrome.

“To be able to take a child with special needs and move him to another school, it’s just not fair to the child, and it’s not fair to us,” Donovan said of the situation.

The council does not seem to want to move any students to other schools.

Hayes insists there are ways for students to stay at their present schools when and if a new Pelham system is approved and enacted.

“Part of our recommendation, if we were to move forward, would clearly be to allow them to continue in their schools,” Hayes expressed. “The Shelby County Board of Education or the State Superintendent would have to approve that.”

Donovan says his family has tried to get information on the possibility of students having to go to other schools, but he hasn’t been able to get an answer yet.

The Pelham City Council is scheduled to hold another public hearing on July 8, 2013 at 7 p.m. at the Pelham Civic Complex.

There is currently no timeline on when a vote on the measure could take place.

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