Phenix City Council brings several allegations against school board

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) -  The saga continues between the Phenix City Council and the Phenix City School Board and they've been locked in what some see as a "power struggle" for some time now.

For the past few weeks News Leader 9 has been following the on-going dispute in Phenix City.

First council members demanded a meeting with the school board, when they refused council voted to remove their president Frankie Horace. The following week Horace defied that decision and acted as president, now council members are fighting back.

Phenix City Mayor Sonny Coulter told News Leader Nine, "I still want to meet with school board members. There are some real issues, there are some allegations, there are issues that have documentation that I want to discuss with school board members."

And after a lack of cooperation from the school board to set up those meetings, council members took the opportunity to discuss some of those issues publicly.

In a Tuesday morning council meeting, Councilman Jimmy Wetzel said, "There are allegations of improper relationships between teachers and students, teachers and teachers, and the superintendent and administrators."  [Watch: Web Extra! City Council makes allegations against Russell County School Board]

Phenix City Superintendent Dr. Larry DiChiara says the school board would be happy to meet with city council and the mayor, "I've attempted to meet with them, I'm still attempting to meet with them, but we're not going to do it in an illegal or unethical manner."

And he feels the school board is being singled out unfairly, "We are getting so many restrictions put on us and we believe it's for nefarious reasons, we don't think it's for pure reasons. So we've reached the point where we're not going to get bullied by this city council or anyone else."

But Mayor Coulter maintains they are within their rights to request a meeting to address these issues, "The superintendent has attempted to turn this into a situation where city council is at odds with the school system. Nothing could be further from the truth."

Right now we don't know the next step for both these groups. They all say they would be happy to meet, but the circumstances in which that will take place is still up in the air.