Monday, May 4, 2009

I Wish This was a Practical Joke!

Can you fix the process of public education and not fix the politics of public education? I don't think so.

In any case, it appears in Dallas we've got to get serious about both!

The Dallas Independent School District decided (over the objection of two of its members), that after presiding over a budgetary debacle that left the district some $64-$84 million in the red and having to lay off hundreds of teachers and support staff as a result (some of whom had to be rehired); after facing the closure of several schools because of the inability to improve test scores and tanking morale among employees that they should extend their terms of office - quite arbitrarily, I might add. No vote, no poll, not even a questionnaire.

School Board Trustee Carla Ranger tried in vain to get them to hold off until they got an opinion from the state's chief legal expert also the Texas Education Agency), voted into office by the citizens of Texas, Greg Abbott the State Attorney General. No, said the majority, we pay lawyers and they say, 'Full steam ahead!'

Oh but wait! April 30, 2009 the Attorney General sends back his opinion which says what?

"Under the plain meaning of section 11.059(e) of the Education ode the board of trustees of the DISD was officially authorized to change the length of their terms, so long as they did so by December 31, 2007. No statutory authorization exists for changes in lengths after that date."

Oh, that's not all:

"A 18 special law naming article 2783d established the term of a member of the DISD board to three years...Altogether the DISD board was authorized by seciton 11.065(d) to change the length of its members' terms prior to December 31, 2007, the enactment of section 11.059(e) removed the option of doing so after that date."

Uh, this is embarrassing. Or in the words of one trustee, 'disappoining', "I'm disappointed," [School Board President Jack] Lowe said of the ruling. "That's not how our lawyers interpreted it."

How many interpretations could there be?!

Edwin Flores, another 'disappointed' school board members said, "...he supported the extension because trustees are not as effective when they are trying to avoid controversy while running for office." Avoiding what 'controversy'? Budget shortfalls? Failing schools? Accountability?!

Adam Medrano, who, along with Dr. Ranger, knew what time it was both politically and by the calendar, drew back the curtain and said, "...trustees discussed changing the terms at length and knew that they had missed the deadline to change it "by almost a year.""

So now what? A late election? Probably, had they followed the law, the election would have been held May 9th. Or there could be a lawsuit, so that the same lawyers who misread the law the first time could insist in court that the Attorney General can't read. After all according to Mr. Flores, "It's really just an opinion of the attorney general, and that's fine. It's not the law."

Huh?! Seriously?!

Will someone please get these adults under control, so we can at least TRY to educate the children?!

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