Two Days Before DISD Board Votes on Staffing Formulas, a Discussion About Interim Super

Photo by Todd Overman/Dallas Independent School District
Cowan and Hinojosa with 2011 Outstanding Elementary School Volunteer Award-winner Maria Amaya last month
Michael Hinojosa is in Georgia today for a 4:30 p.m. meet-n-greet with the citizenry of Cobb County, most of whom appear happy to be taking the Dallas Independent School District super's off Dallas's hands. Twenty-five hours later, the DISD board will meet for the first time since Hinojosa's almost-adios for a called board meeting. There is but one item on the agenda: "Discussion of Process for Selection of Interim Superintendent."

It's the start of a busy week for the trustees, who also have before them a FY2012 budget workshop, a discussion of the audit and an early look at financials, a public hearing to discuss closing both Barbara M. Manns High School and Otto M. Fridia Jr. Alternative High School and a regular ol' board meeting, where the board will more than likely approve these jumps in class sizes and reductions in personnel to accommodate the looming budget cuts, which the Texas Tribune guesstimated on Friday will now run closer to $112.3 million.

Schutze has something to say on all of this; he'll be along shortly. But till then: We heard Friday from Carla Ranger, who wants Hinojosa out immediately. Later that same day Eric Cowan took to his blog, insisting that he could tell the super wanted out before he made it public. Perhaps. But Cowan, unlike Ranger, is among the five trustees who voted last September to give Hinojosa a contract extension -- the result, trustee Bruce Parrott told Unfair Park on Thursday, of "pressure from the [Dallas Regional] Chamber and the Citizens Council." Here is what Cowan has to write about why he did what he did last fall, when it looked as though Hinojosa was leaving for Las Vegas:
The vote on his contract extension was hardly a vote of confidence from the entire Board, and the Superintendent realized this. My vote was a vote for time and the belief that a stronger relationship between the Board and the Superintendent would lead to a better District. I saw the manner in which the Clark County District (Las Vegas) was able to replace their Superintendent of five years with a thorough, proactive interview process. I saw a unified Board with a driven purpose. I believed that Dallas deserved the same, but we had a lot of work to do internally to make this an attractive job for an A+ Superintendent candidate. We are on our way, but, unfortunately, the Superintendent has put us in the position again of reacting to a change in executive leadership.
Read the whole thing here.

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Betty Lyons
Betty Lyons

Are the school board members educators by profession or by social recognition for a seat amongst the think-tanks exhibiting a lack of knowledge about the future of this city?  The connotation of school implies learning.  What have we as a city learned in the past four decades that attributes us to number  44 in the nation?  Have we become passively asleep because of the same old, same old, from the disturbing behavior thats occurred in our school system for the past 40 years?  It seems we went on a downward spiral every 10 years.  That's not as it should be; we didn't expect declining scores from our students.  Or, did we? In the light of what has happened, one of our own has broken ties with this madness.  Disturbing.Wonderings. Questions??  Why?  What lies beneath all of this turbulence?  Will it dissipate in the coming school year?  Or.  Will it get worse?  Let's find some common grounds for change; for the good of all and a think-tank that can make it happen.  Even on the brink of a recession.Now that's brilliance, excellence, and collaboration waiting in the halls of academia.  Shall we break bread together for all the excellent minds of this city?

Betty Lyons
Betty Lyons

Well, here we go again.  For the past decade, trouble in paradise. DISD that is!  When will the people in this city or in this state stop desecrating the minds of the future? Does any one knowwhat a dedicated, hard-working teacher face each and every year with this kind of horrendous behavior? Can a dhwt clear her mind to teach when the resilience wears daily to not hear/not see progress in the education stats of this district. Number 44 is not what I tell my students when it comes to excellence.  CHANGE-yes we do need it!  Has anyone monitored how manyschools in this district do not have the neccessary educational resources to compete with citizens of other countries?  Has anyone monitored the up-to-date equipment for instruction thatshould be the best for the money thats allocated and for the mission statements that our students declare each day to learn all they can without having the needed firearms to do so.  Every soldier that goes to battle-goes with the best this country can offer.  Billions of dollars are spent, allocated, disbursed, etc.etc.  One might say, "we have the neccessary components for each and every child to learn all that he/she can."  Then, who shot the sheriff?  Tell me why arewe 44th in the country?  A bag of goods - been sold for  many years. Fluff has taken over the rudiments of excellence.  I've faltered in trusting a system that no longer trust itself.  The system presents  to the citizens, the best and the brightest; schools and students alike are imposters to their own future if we continue to allow bandit behavior to apease a declining intellect that breeds disruption, apathy, bullying, thievery, sloughfulness, carelessness, disrespect, cheating, behavior problems that flock together and we tolerate no change.  The majority of students are feeling betrayed by a system that segregates learning by not offeringthe curriculum of diversity in the schools.  There are many opportunities for this to happen- the teachers are foreigners to one another in 2011.  The mere word immigration is education in and of itself.  This can no longer be a whispered word or a sounding brass when someone feels abused of denied civil rights .  Its a repeat of history from the 50's and the 60's.  The meeting of the minds came after much bloodshed, lynchings, murder, and injustice.  Are we going to repeat this shattering truth by denying the minds of the future to get to know one another as we continue to drop the ball of excellence in this district?  The only time this city gets together massively is when the cowboys are playing for the superbowl and the mavericks are playing for a championship. This city is further asleep and divided in its own rights when we worship (well those of us who do) on Sunday mornings.  Are we a futuristic city that can embrace the mind of innovative applications of the heart because the IPhone does a better job in its diversity than the humans that created it. Amazing intelligence the iphone takes to collaborate, communicateand applicate an infrastructure through 6 continents.  Is the DISD's system compatible to the workings of the excellence preceived by the IPhone?  4 Decades You Do The Math!!!!!!!!

Watching South Detroit
Watching South Detroit

Robert - how about contacting the Dallas Chamber and Citizens Council for their reaction to claims to "exerting influenve".  It seems they are exerting a bit too much influence for publicly unelected outside organizations.  Also - if certain trustees are too weak to stand up and are just puppets for the above, we should know who they are and they should be held accountable.

As for Hinojosa, Ranger is correct.  Get Hinojosa's lying butt out now.  How does anyone with integrity say that they want to stay for the long term and then 3 months later, they quit?  Hinojosa signed a contract - penalize him for breaking it - hold him for the 3 years left on it.  Don't let him dictate when he leaves - just makes Dallas look even weaker than it does now.  Hinojosa is making the trustees look so foolish and amateurish that they look pathetic.

If the trustees were smart (that is a dicey notion), they would put in a buyout clause to penalize anyone leaving before his contract was up.  They should have done that in Hinojosa's extension but were too dumb to do so.  Stay hard.


Unfair Park bloggers & commenters often remark about the Dallas Regional Chamber and Dallas Citizens Council, but this is the first quote from an elected official about direct pressure that I have read. 

Robert - How exactly do the Reg. Chamber and Citizens Council "exert pressure"?  What's the underlying threat to Trustees or the school system?  I'm not asking rhetorically.  I actually want to understand.  Call me naive or ignorant.


So that's the Chamber's influence?  Free trips to Denver, Houston, LA?  Is that even legal?

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

I think the Chamber and the Citizens Cartel can exert influence by making it clear to school board members that they (the Chamber and the Cartel) have both business deals to hand out as well as future campaign contributions to give to cooperative school board members.

Any school board member who goes against the wishes of the Chamber/Cartel probably runs the risk of being deprived of lucrative business deals and future campaign contributions (school board members, after all, usually have their own firms and companies to run).

Not saying they do make these quid pro quo deals, just saying they certainly could.  

I think Mike Morath, who doesn't need their money or power, will be a great school board member.  Let's hope he doesn't fall prey to the "go along to get along" mentality.

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