School board to deliberate Monday on Guin's fate

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 8/6/17

The Walker County Board of Education will meet to deliberate the fate of Carbon Hill Elementary Principal Tanya Guin on Monday at 2 p.m.

The board concluded testimony at 10:30 p.m Saturday after an all-day marathon termination hearing for Mrs. …

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School board to deliberate Monday on Guin's fate

Posted

The Walker County Board of Education will meet to deliberate the fate of Carbon Hill Elementary Principal Tanya Guin on Monday at 2 p.m.

The board concluded testimony at 10:30 p.m Saturday after an all-day marathon termination hearing for Mrs. Guin.

The board went to the back offices for discussions, meeting with attorneys briefly.

Board Chairman Brad Ingle then came out with the board at 11:20 p.m. to announce that lawyers on both sides can present written final arguments by 2 p.m. Monday. At that time, the board will deliberate behind the scenes and then come out for a public vote concerning Walker County Superintendent of Education Jason Adkins’ recommendation to terminate Mrs. Guin.

Ingle noted that the board also wanted to delay to give it more time to review the exhaustive amount of testimony and evidence that was produced during the two-day hearing, which Ingle presided over.

The board had expected to be concluded at suppertime Saturday and then deliberate and vote that night. However, the meeting continued to stretch into the evening hours, without a supper break. The board took not only normal breaks and a lunch break, but also repeatedly went back in executive session-type meetings to discuss admissability of witnesses, testimony and evidence.

The board held a two-day hearing to determine Guin’s fate after allegations were made from the Central Office of financial misconduct at the school, particularly in possibly breaking board policy in documentation and handling of funds.

The board started Saturday’s session at 8 a.m. and ended 14.5 hours later, with a lunch hour and smaller breaks.

Lawyers were limited to seven hours in time to question and cross examine, which was carefully monitored in the process. Participants appeared stressed as they tried to get as much in under the wire, using almost all their allotted time.

Mrs. Guin’s lead attorney, John Saxon of Birmingham, repeatedly charged that Walker County Superintendent of Education Jason Adkins was trying to terminate Mrs. Guin for personal and political reasons.

Mrs. Guin, who was also represented by her husband, attorney Ken Guin, said during testimony Saturday that she is considering a run against Adkins.

Mrs. Guin and school bookkeeper Stephanie Elliott were placed on administrative leave and escorted from the school on Aug. 30, 2016.

Testimony continued Saturday to focus on several basic lines of allegations concerning a lack of financial controls existed at the school.

It was also a day where both sides representing Adkins and Mrs. Guin made accusations against each other, including personal and professional actions, which resulted in objections and the executive sessions to rule on some evidence and testimony.

The defense maintains no money was missing and that similar situations existed across the county, without other administrators being punished. Plaintiff lawyers, led by Charles Tatum, argued that board policy was violated and that the discussion of other situations was not the focus of the hearing, which was to center on Mrs. Guin’s actions.

Correction

In a related development, in Saturday's edition of the Daily Mountain Eagle, coverage of the Guin termination hearing indicated students at Carbon Hill Elementary once paid $1 each to wear blue jeans at the school. That was incorrect, as it was actually teachers who paid for the privilege.

The Eagle regrets the error and any inconvenience it may have caused.