Alabama Schools

State Superintendent Ed Richardson said he will seek legislative authority to close and merge small, financially troubled school systems in Alabama.

Richardson did not identify which of the state's 128 school districts would be closed under his plan.

He is giving two reasons for seeking the closings. First, budget cuts are expected to take hundreds of millions of dollars away from schools this year.

Second, business leaders want major changes in how schools operate, if they are going to support Richardson's proposal to spend $1.6 billion more a year to make all schools adequate.

Richardson acknowledged that closing schools and systems would be controversial, but said the state's ultimate responsibility is giving all children a quality education.