Baldwin County Board of Education and Orange Beach Board of Education approve separation agreement

By Jessica Vaughn
Education Editor
jessica@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 5/6/22

LOXLEY — Both the Baldwin County Board of Education and Orange Beach City Schools have approved a separation agreement as of Thursday, May 5. The move puts the split between the systems on …

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Baldwin County Board of Education and Orange Beach Board of Education approve separation agreement

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LOXLEY — Both the Baldwin County Board of Education and Orange Beach City Schools have approved a separation agreement as of Thursday, May 5. The move puts the split between the systems on track to occur on July 1.
“Everybody’s worked very hard to come to this point tonight, for our board to take this official agreement and approve it unanimously,” said BCBE Superintendent Eddie Tyler. “Everybody’s worked well together.”
According to the agreement, Orange Beach is set to pay the Baldwin County school system approximately $40 million for the Orange Beach elementary, middle and high school campuses, and the majority of the assets within the buildings including books and Chromebooks. Of that cost, roughly $32.4 million is for the middle and high school, with the elementary at an estimated $3 million and an additional $2.6 million in assumed debt.
The agreement states that Orange Beach must pay $35 million of the cost to the Baldwin County system by July 1.
“I know this is something that (Orange Beach) has been wanting to do, and we’re excited for them, we’ll be watching their progress. But it’s also an exciting time for Baldwin County schools,” Tyler said. “Is that money going to go in reserve? That money’s not going to stay around very long. We’ve already got plans. We’re building schools, we’ve got a career tech high school on the horizon, we’ve got plans to build other schools. Subdivisions are coming in right and left, so we have a growth issue. We’re excited about that growth issue, but this money is going to benefit all of our schools in Baldwin County ten-fold.”

In addition to the funds from Orange Beach for the campuses, Baldwin County officials said the school system is expected to receive additional income as a result of the split. The system is expected to net somewhere between $10 to $15 million per year in tax revenue because of the deal.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Orange Beach, I am excited for them,” said Shannon Cauley, BCBE president. “I look forward to seeing all of the things that they’re going to be able to accomplish, but I think this is great for us too. With this funding, we’re going to be able to do a lot of wonderful things for Baldwin County.”
While no official plans have been released as to what the money will be used towards, Cauley said the school board is discussing additional raises for employees in conjunction with raises coming from the state and ways to keep up with the growth in the county.
There are 1,032 students in the Orange Beach schools district.
Students currently in the Orange Beach feeder pattern will be grandfathered in for the upcoming 2022-23 school year, with no tuition required. In the 2023-24 school year, students outside of the OBCS district will have to pay tuition to attend -- with one exception. Students attending Orange Beach High School in the 2022-23 school year will have the choice to remain at the school through their graduation with no tuition.
Orange Beach students currently enrolled in Baldwin County’s career tech schools will be able to finish the program and graduate from the tech schools.
Students wishing to remain in Baldwin County schools will be redistricted to either Elberta or Foley schools. The BCBE plans to announce these district lines in the upcoming months.
Employees currently working in Orange Beach schools who wish to remain in those schools have been told to do nothing and sit tight. Once July 1 comes, they will be automatically transferred to OBCS. Employees who remain at Orange Beach will maintain their tenure when the split occurs.
Employees who wish to remain with Baldwin County have been told to file an application with that school system, submit a resume and declare a voluntary transfer. County officials said while some teachers have already reached out about transferring with the school system, many employees are expected to remain in Orange Beach.
The agreement now has to be approved by State Superintendent Eric Mackey.

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