Birmingham Craig Witherspoon

Mobile County Public Schools

New figures released by the Alabama Department of Education show Mobile County schools Superintendent Martha Peek is the highest-paid in the state. reports that Peek earns an annual salary of $204,000 overseeing the largest school system in Alabama with an enrollment of 59,000 students.

Second on the list is Birmingham City Schools' Craig Witherspoon, who earns $202,155 overseeing a system with 24,629 students.

The Birmingham School System has been put on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

School system officials said Thursday that although probation is a serious matter for the district, all of its schools are still accredited for the time being.

The accreditation agency sent a review team to Birmingham in mid-May and a report outlined micro management among other issues in the school district.

Jonathan Hardison

Parents and teachers are expressing concerns about plans to close seven schools and lay off 133 workers in Birmingham City Schools.

At a Monday night meeting, community members said they feared the consequences of one aspect of the plan: Consolidating some seventh- and eighth-grade students with high school students.

Stephannie Huey says she's taught at the middle school and high school level, and doesn't think the two groups will mix well. She said middle school students would be exposed to more sexual activity, drugs and cigarettes.

Leaders have approved a contract extension for the superintendent of Birmingham's troubled school system.

The city school board extended Craig Witherspoon's contract by two years during a meeting Tuesday.

Some members weren't happy, saying they felt pressured to vote because of state support for Witherspoon. The extension passed on a 5-4 vote.

The state took over Birmingham's city school system in June, citing financial problems. The system lacks sufficient funding reserves required under a state law.