DISD Board Narrows Its List of Interim Superintendents, Say They'll Decide By Monday

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Photos by Patrick Michels
Michael Hinojosa and Edwin Flores bite their lips as trustees Lew Blackburn and Carla Ranger get into it.
Brand-new Dallas Independent School District board president Lew Blackburn emerged from executive session this afternoon to announce the trustees have narrowed their list of interim superintendent candidates to "four or five," and should be ready to name their pick by Monday.

Blackburn, who took over the board presidency just last week, said they'd "possibly make a decision by Friday," but "for sure on Monday, we hope." With that decision out of the way, Blackburn said, the board can get down to business choosing a search firm to pick us a winner of a school chief we can keep.

Blackburn was light on details about the candidates they're considering for the interim post, but said the board was able to narrow the list from 10 candidates. "Some trustees want somebody from the inside, some people want somebody from the outside," he said. "Each of us have gotten several names."

All those discussions happened behind closed doors today at 3700 Ross after a 10-minute public meeting lasted just long enough for Carla Ranger to urge her colleagues to make the selection process as transparent as possible.

Blackburn began this afternoon's meeting by announcing the board would go immediately into executive session, but Ranger cut him off, saying the agenda for the day included public discussion of how they'd choose the interim superintendent.

"Whatever we do, the process should be open, should be transparent and should be one that the public is fully privy to," Ranger said.

Last week, Ranger proposed an "administrative council" of current DISD officials take on Hinojosa's role temporarily, primarily as a money-saving measure. That proposal doesn't look to have much support from the board. Today, district lawyers told her the idea would be technically legal, if a bit of a stretch. "It is implied in the law that there is a superintendent," they told her.

Before the board retired to the back room to throw names around, a couple other trustees took advantage of the Q&A time with district lawyers. Eric Cowan asked what would happen if the board couldn't reach a consensus on a replacement before Hinojosa leaves. District lawyers reminded him they wouldn't need to agree. A simple majority would be good enough.

Bernadette Nutall had a legal question of her own before the board went into closed session. "Can we clarify the interim's role in this?" she asked. "It's temporary, right?"

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DISD trustee Bruce Parrott does his part to keep the board meetings a little more chill.

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5 comments
Upbow
Upbow

Some More To Think About

It’stime for a retrospective and prospective look at the Dallas Independent SchoolDistrict governance and administrative impact over the past decade. This yearsgraduating class is the first to navigate the high school system completelyunder the present superintendent’s administration. It is time to ask questions,demand answers and accountability.

 

I. Governance &Fiduciary Responsibility Issues

 

a.)One should take notice that the district had a still unexplained fiscal deficitprior to the recession and statewide education crisis. Pursuant to law taxrates and personnel allocations were established and made public only to betold these figures were inaccurate. There was a claim that an audit had takenplace to make corrections, but no satisfactory answers or solutions or responsibilityfor these transactions have ever been reported

 

b.)In the ensuing years hundreds of people were laid off without as a result ofthe budgetary errors in what appeared to be lack of due process of law andpublic accountability.

 

c.) There has not beenan exploration or explanation as which budget personnel were bonded consistentwith the law and regulations, that states in part: In addition to theemployees and officers who are required by law to be bonded, other Districtemployees who have responsibilities for school funds or properties shall bebonded. The bonds shall be of the types and in amounts as determined by theBoard. Other District employees, as determined by the Board, may be required tobe bonded. The Superintendent of Schools shall keep a roster of all bonded employeesof the District, the amount of the bond, and the reasons for the bond. TheSuperintendent of Schools shall report annually to the Board concerning theroster. CG (LOCAL)-X ADOPTED:

 

d.) A summary of additionalelements of the state law in reference to budget preparation and execution isadded for your edification and emphasis of the seriousness of the fiduciarytransgressions

 

§44.002. PREPARATION OF BUDGET. 

(a) On or before a date set by the State Boardof Education, the superintendent shall prepare, or cause to be prepared, aproposed budget covering all estimated revenue and proposed expenditures of thedistrict for the following fiscal year.

(b) The budget must be prepared according togenerally accepted accounting principles; rules adopted by the State Board ofEducation, and adopted policies of the board of trustees.

Added by Acts 1995,74th Leg., ch. 260, § 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

 

§44.052. FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH BUDGET REQUIREMENTS; 

PENALTY.  (a) Any county superintendent approving any expenditure of school funds in excessof the item or items appropriated in the adopted budget or a supplementary oramended budget commits an offense. An offense under this subsection is a Class C misdemeanor.

(b) A person who fails to comply with the person'sduties with regard to the preparation or the following of a county schoolbudget or a budget of a school district or who violates any provision ofSection 44.002 commits an offense. An offense under this subsection is a Class C misdemeanor.

(c) A trustee of a school district whovotes to approve any expenditure of school funds in excess of the item or itemsappropriated in the adopted budget or a supplementary or amended budget commitsan offense.  An offense under thissubsection is a Class C misdemeanor.

(d) Charges of the violation of this sectionmay be instituted by the proper county or district attorney or by the attorneygeneral. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, § 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

 

e.) There have beenquestions raised about the appropriateness of the utilization of state andfederal monies, and challenges made to both governmental authorities by theadministration implying that TEA and the U.S. Department of Education didn’tknow the rules and regulations for their own funding sources. The net effecthas been that in some instances the monies had to be returned or reclassifiedbecause of the violation off rules against supplanting, and in one instance awhistle blower received a portion of the monies returned for bring the misappropriation to the attention of the federalauthorities.

 

f.) There have beensome concerns raised about vendor selection equity, openness and fairness inthe distributions of before and after school funds and resources denying theability of some community based organization to be strategic partners, as wellas the appearance of excessive administrative enrichment.

 

II. Public Trust& Veracity Issues

 

a.)This section contains a litany of questionable assertions by the administrationlisted:

Parentsat Maynard Jackson Elementary School raised questions and brought actionconcerning the safety of their children in reference to sewage noxious orders,which was denied and supposedly remedied and not identified or reported in theBond Package. After the bond passed this deficiency was noted and the schoolclosed and the parents assertions proven to be true.

 

b.)It was made to appear that the board, local news sources, and the public weremistaken about the time frame stated by the administration for consideration ofaccomplishments worthy of Serious Broad Award consideration. Even given thebenefit of the doubt and a year extension on Broad consideration there has beenno independently verified honest reporting (from an entity or consultant notpaid by the district) to the public in reference to the status of the series ofachievement goal stipulated.

 

c.)Current TAKS test for a significant number of district schools has an added weight,thus giving the appearance of success for hypothetical achievement. While theadministration is not responsible for this test false positive artifact theadministration and others continue to make claims of increased studentperformance. The next breath they say with these factors removed next year as aresult of state law and rule changes scores will revert to where they were orworse next year. (But under a new administration!).

 

d.)The statement an assurances to the public and the board of education terms oftaking his name of f the market appear to mean nothing. If a teacher breaks acontract while under contract there are have to be specific approvable reasons.At one time there was a compact that all districts in this region had anethical practice that they would not hire a teacher under compact with anotherdistrict. I wonder if this still is the practice?

 

III. AcademicAchievement Issues

Pleasefind a litany of questionable assertions by the administration listed:

a.)Over the years there was no shyness in requesting financial support for theDallas Achieve although to date there has been no public independently verifiedreporting of the results of this effort which was considered one of the hallmarks of this administration in terms of public private partnerships. Thosethat had questions and concerns form the start where ostracized and criticizedin some instances penalized for not being supportive of the administration bycertain individuals and media outlets.

 

b.)There were questions raised about the Academic Success Program the ensuingacrimony could have been avoided if there were a fair complete and accurateportrayal of its intent, process, and results made public prior to thechallenges from media sources. The information was readily available and onlyproduced once challenged. It shouldn’t be the job of the press to seek and findinformation that is essential to the core mission of these efforts.

 

Recommendations

 

1st.  The district needs to produce and published a fiveyear summary and breakdown off all personnel classification who were dismissedin reduction-in-force actions by age, gender, race, years of experience, andcertifications

 

2nd.  The district should be required to have an audit conductedof all external source monies received by the district inclusive of stimulusfunds and competitive grants, as well as a complete forensic audit with a publicreporting requirement, which should include an analysis of the constitutional,and other legal requirement to engage in generally acceptable accounting andaccountable practices.

 

3rd. The district should require that 501c3 organizationsshould be immediately and henceforth include their most current Internal RevenueService Form 199 in submitting solicitations to requests for grants andproposals to and for the district, as well as other mandatory documentsrequired of vendors for the district analysis and certification to avoid anyand all conflicts or appearances of conflict or favoritism.

 

4th. An independently verified public accounting of theaccomplishments and findings of Dallas Achieve, Academic Success program, andany other similarly situated efforts.

 

5th. A listing of all bonded fiduciarily responsible personnelthrough these bond and an explanation as to why miscalculated or misappropriatedof multiple million of dollars could not be recouped though this insuranceprocess.

 

Amy S.
Amy S.

Steve Flores - Harlingen. Hope he's on the short list.

StopDISD.org
StopDISD.org

We need a Superintendent and Board that will listen to the voters and tax payers!  Innocent people lost their homes and innocent residents lost a community because of DISD's wasteful spending and greedy need to take land for parking lots in between homes that is...for now.  Town homes are in the plans for later. 

The voters and tax payers raised over 1,600 signatures opposing this twisted plan for O.M Roberts but, the Superintendent and Board refused to listen and continue to move forward destroying this historical community. This is real and it can happen to you!    DISD must focus on better education not land development contracts! Learn more at www.StopDISD.org or StopDISD on Facebook ~ make sure to read article about Bruce Parrott being madder than a wet hen! View Satire Video about DISD's wasteful spending http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Heywood U Buzzoff
Heywood U Buzzoff

Bernadette Nutall had a legal question of her own before the board went into closed session. "Can we clarify the interim's role in this?" she asked. "It's temporary, right?"<./i>

And all the problems with the DISD will be solved if we just spend more per student then we do now. That is if you can ignore the bunch of idiots actually overseeing the running of the DISD.

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