Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon responded to a question from a resident concerning a report by Gulf Coast Media that the school system owes over $4.6 million to the system foundation's 10-mill match funding program.
Linda Mills stood up to speak at the town hall the city held after the first city council meeting of the month. Mills told Kennon she has heard from multiple parents who have said they are worried the lack of payment to the foundation could impact education and opportunities for students.
"Well, the question is, we're the only city school system that plans not to pay into the foundation," said Mills.
"No, that's not true," Kennon replied. "See, that's the problem. The newspaper and outlets and too many people … if we had an hour to stand here and a panel of experts, we could clarify it. It's that complicated. That's why we're not going to debate it with anyone. The point is that $4.6 million means absolutely nothing to how we run our school. It is a red herring; it was created for no reason whatsoever."
Mills told Kennon she expects transparency. Kennon told her city, and school leaders are unable to discuss litigation or negotiations publicly.
"The point being is, there will never be a student in this city that will do without any service they need," Kennon added. "I mean, that's just end of story."
"It is irrelevant to how we run our school system, as far as I'm concerned. Now, I am outside my lane because that is a school board, school superintendent issue, but I'm sort of tired of hearing the nonsense around town about it."
Kennon said he has heard people spreading rumors that the school system is out of money and that he wants the system to go back to the county. He said those rumors are untrue.
"It's just really gotten out of control because of a small number of people, and what those folks need to do is just send their kids to school, enjoy it and let us work on our problems," he said. "When we can talk about it, we will be glad to talk about it because there is nothing I'm not afraid to talk about it."
Mills then told Kennon he was deflecting.
The town hall was streamed live and can be viewed below.
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