By JOHN KANELIS / firstname.lastname@example.org
A North Texas public school board of trustees that is charged with setting policy for educating public school students has just failed an exam that truly doesn’t pass the so-called “smell test.”
The Lancaster Independent School District board is offering an abject lesson on how not to conduct public business. Other local governing boards need to listen up and pay close attention.
The Lancaster ISD board offered Superintendent Elijah Granger a new five-year contract worth $1.6 million and then bought him out five days later. That’s not the worst of it.
Oh, no. The worst is that the board, which bought him out with a 4-3 vote, isn’t disclosing the details of the maneuver. The three trustees don’t know the details. Nor does the public. No one knows how much money the public school district is shelling out to buy Granger’s contract.
I emphasize the word “public” because the public deserves to know the details, not to mention the three board members who dissented from the buyout vote.
As the Dallas Morning News said in an editorial published Wednesday, “There is no other way to look at this than a betrayal of parents, taxpayers and the trustees who were shut out from access to relevant information.”
One of the dissenting trustees, Marion Hamilton, sought to see the separation agreement, but was denied. That is outrageous!
School board members have declined to discuss the details of the buyout. There hasn’t been an explanation of why they voted essentially to fire the superintendent … not to mention explain why it would buy him out so soon after agreeing to the expensive contract. What in the world did he do from the contract signing and the separation? The public needs to know the details.
There’s a serious lesson to be learned here. I would hope all school districts, city councils or other governing bodies entrusted with the power to hire and fire government administrators would take notice of the clusterfu** being played out in Lancaster, Texas.
This ain’t good, folks. You have failed a key test of leadership … and to think you still set policy that establishes the education of public school students.