Here’s the latest from the Amarillo Independent School District: AISD Trustee John Ben Blanchard has resigned, citing the need to spend more time with his family.
What does this mean, then, for a school district in turmoil at the moment? It means the board will have a new majority replacing four trustees who stood by while a popular high school volleyball coach resigned and laid the responsibility for her resignation at the feet of the board and senior administration.
Three new trustees have taken their seats; two of them replace incumbents who lost their re-election bids earlier this month, while a third trustee succeeds an incumbent who didn’t run for a new term. Now it’s John Ben Blanchard who’s heading for the exit. It falls on the board to find a suitable replacement.
At issue, of course, is how the board reacted to the resignation of Kori Clements, the former head girls volleyball coach at Amarillo High School. She quit after a single season and said a parent — allegedly a member of the board — hassled her over her daughters’ playing time.
The board has remained stone-cold silent on it, citing some sort of personnel policy requirement that compels trustees to clam up.
I will continue to argue for as long as I feel like it that the board needs to deal far more forthrightly with the questions being asked in the community.
One constituent filed a complaint with the Texas Education Agency, which declared it lacks jurisdiction and kicked it back to the AISD. The new superintendent, Doug Loomis, has issued a letter denying the complaint that the constituent leveled, while avoiding any specific explanation of what transpired between the former coach and the offending parent. That’s not good enough, Mr. Superintendent.
A group called the Coalition of Parents for Transparency has formed and is demanding answers, too.
The board is still quiet.
One question the board might ask applicants to fill Blanchard’s seat ought to deal with how they feel about the tumult that roiled the AISD athletic community.
Will the new majority see fit to put these questions to rest? AISD’s constituents should hope it does.