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The real ASU President steps down PDF Print E-mail
Written by News Desk   
Thursday, 01 May 2014 14:30

bobmartinBy This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Publisher

Longtime Alabama State University Executive Vice President (ASU) and State Rep. John Knight (D) from Montgomery has retired from Alabama State University, the historically Black institution in Montgomery.

Representative Knight's retirement is just four months after the Alabama State University Board of Trustees chose ASU alum, Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd to serve as its new president. Boyd is only the 14th President in ASU's 146 year history and the first woman to serve as President. President Boyd succeeded interim President and President Emeritus, Dr. William H. Harris.

Knight's retirement comes after two years of confusion at the school. At one point former ASU President Joseph Silver attempted to fire Knight in a Board of Trustees meeting. Silver was then fired shortly thereafter. He had been on the job for less than a year.

For many years, Knight, a long time member of the Alabama House of Representatives, was generally perceived as the person who "really ran things" at ASU and during the current crisis it has been his solid leadership that has held things together at the school.

Knight, however, is facing a choice since he can no longer serve in the legislature and at the same time hold an office at a university.

Boyd said all the remaining vice presidents at the school, which have been reduced to five, would report to her under a new organizational chart. Knight, whose tenure at the historically black school including being the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit over state funding and racial fairness, said he would continue supporting his alma mater.

"It's in good hands. I think that we will move forward," Knight told me over the weekend.

AEA fundraising: neutered or not?

The State Department of Education is telling school boards throughout the state that they must begin complying with a new law aimed at reducing the funding of the Alabama Education Association (AEA). The law, which passed the Alabama Legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley in 2010, forbids teachers and other educational employees from being able to check-off a box to contribute a portion of their pay to AEA.

To get a realistic appraisal of the new law and how it would affect AEA, I caught up with Dr. Paul Hubbert, who ran the AEA for decades, to get his take on the effect it would have on the association's revenues. "It will definitely have an effect," Hubbert said but the system has been actively working on setting up a bank draft system for payroll deductions for the past four years.

He said that in his opinion roughly 70 percent of AEA members have signed up. "The law certainly doesn't help teachers and school personnel but I believe our current leadership will overcome any difficulty the law causes." Between June of last year and March in 2014, (A VOTE) the teacher's political action committee received over $2 million in payroll deductions.

Hubbert says he believes that when the kinks are worked out, the AEA effort toward providing Alabama students a quality education will not be harmed as much as some have predicted.

It is interesting that big business PACS will be facing the same collecting dilemma. The Business Council of Alabama (BCA) Progress PAC raises around $800,000 a year and Alfa's Farm PAC brings in over a half million a year. However, I'm not going to shed a tear for these guys. They will always have plenty of cash.

It is my opinion that the attempts by the current legislature to harm those who try their very best to educate our children and grandchildren at some of the lowest pay in the United States, are subjected to the kind of disrespect for their service by some of those who represent us in the state's lawmaking body borders on the incredible.

Those who are able to send their children to the best private schools in places like Montgomery, Birmingham and Mobile likely don't understand what the teachers in the public schools in those areas must deal with every day.

It is important that we give our teachers the best environment possible and most often that takes money. This is my rant for 2014.

Bob Martin is editor and publisher of The Montgomery Independent, and the publisher of The Millbrook Independent. Email him at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 May 2014 14:40
 
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