Tag Archives: Parents for Transparency

Hey, Amarillo ISD trustees … you’ve got another issue to ponder

I just read a story about the full complement of Amarillo Independent School District board of trustees getting ready for the upcoming school year.

They’re talking about cohesion, educational excellence and boosting teacher morale. That’s all great. Good luck. I wish you well, even from afar, as I no longer live in Amarillo.

However, the newspaper story I read didn’t mention this little matter that continues to hang over the board of trustees. Let’s call it “administrative transparency.”

The former school board accepted the resignation of a high school volleyball coach from the district’s vaunted Amarillo High School Sandies volleyball program after just a single season. Kori Clements resigned — or, more to the point, was not granted a contract renewal. In her letter of resignation, she said the school board and administration didn’t give her support as sought to fend off the harassment of a meddlesome parent who objected to the way Clements was granting playing to her daughters.

Oh, and then there’s this: The parent in question was herself a school trustee. Oops! Not good! School trustees always should keep their mitts off of educators’ performance of their duties. This one didn’t. The trustee then quit the school board. The episode raised a lot of hackles throughout the AISD athletic community.

However, the board and the administration has remained stone-cold silent on the issues surrounding Clements’ forced resignation.

I mention this because transparency is vital to the running of a public school system. The board and the administration’s silence on this matter has continued to hang over the system. A coalition of parents has formed to demand greater transparency. I happen to believe they have a point.

So … with that, trustees, my suggestion to you as you commence this new academic year is to ensure that all of you allow your district’s educators to do their jobs without meddling, especially from within your ranks.

I am glad you have been made whole with the appointments of two new trustees. Get to work, folks, but do it the right way.

Amarillo school voters sending a message to district?

I awoke this morning in Collin County not knowing what to expect when I searched for results from Saturday’s vote results way up yonder in Amarillo.

Then I saw it: Two Amarillo school trustee incumbents lost their bids for re-election, which I hope means a potential change is in the works for the way the school board might clean up a mess it has on its hands.

Jim Austin and John Betancourt are out. Three newbies are joining the Amarillo Independent School District board of trustees: Dick Ford, Kimberly Anderson and Alonzo Everhart. I don’t know the new folks. Of the two incumbents who lost, I have met only one of them, Austin.

So, what gives?

The AISD election occurred in the midst of a mess created when an Amarillo High School girls volleyball coach, Kori Clements, resigned. She said a parent hassled her over playing time she was giving the parent’s daughters. Clements is an AHS grad, a product of the vaunted high school volleyball program. She quit after a single season. She also said the school board and the administration didn’t give her the backing she believes she deserved.

The school board hasn’t handled this situation well . . . at all! An AISD constituent filed a complaint with the Texas Education Association; a group of parents has formed to call for an “independent investigation” into one of the specific complaints filed by the constituent, that the offending parent is a member of the AISD school board.

The board has been silent on all of this.

Voters had their say Saturday night. They gave two incumbents the boot. I don’t know what was in the minds of voters who cast their ballots. I hope they were speaking on behalf of those observers who want more transparency and accountability from the school board and administration over this and other matters.

Here’s what I do know: The AISD board would do well to look inward and decide if it has handled this Kori Clements in the most up-front manner possible. If not, then it ought to change its ways. If it fails to do so, then another election cycle likely will continue the job of housecleaning that began this weekend.

In search of ‘transparency’ at the Amarillo school district

A coalition of Amarillo Independent School District constituents is getting fired up.

They want answers. The Parents for Transparency Coalition isn’t getting them. So, what is the course the coalition must travel? Beats me, although I certainly to respect the group’s demand for answers to a couple of questions that are continuing to roil the AISD community.

The school board is meeting Monday night at the Rod Schroder Education Support Center. The transparency coalition wants the school board to open an “independent investigation” into the resignation of Kori Clements, the former Amarillo High School girls volleyball coach. This resignation has roiled the AISD community. Clements quit a vaunted high school athletic program after a single season. She cited interference into her coaching duties from a parent and the lack of board and administrative support as her reasons for quitting.

The coalition has been advised that the school board will not take up the matter at its Monday meeting.

The Parents for Transparency want answers. They deserve them. They want to know if the allegation that the offending parent is a school trustee is true. They want to know why the board failed to back Clements’s complaint about the parental interference. They want the school board to explain itself. They are demanding that the school administration — now led by newly named Superintendent Doug Loomis — do the same thing.

Is that an unreasonable request? It is not.

However, asking the school board to hand this matter to an independent investigative team is like asking members of Congress to enact a constitutional amendment to limit the number of terms they can serve on Capitol Hill. It’s not going to happen.

Still, I stand with the Parents for Transparency as they seek answers to questions that continue to gnaw at the guts of the public school system.