Tuesday, September 16, 2008

$64 Million Dollar Deficit

On Thursday, April 12, 2007 at its regularly scheduled 11:30 A.M. monthly Board Briefing, Dallas ISD Trustees received the Phase Two Implementation Report of the Dallas Achieves Commission outlining over 100 recommendations to be adopted.

Two weeks later on April 26, 2007 at 5:30 P.M., the Board of Trustees met at Samuell High School for the purpose of considering the over 100 Dallas Achieves Commission recommendations that had been just received by the Board.

Again, only two weeks had passed between receiving the 100 Recommendations and being asked to approve (rubber-stamp) their adoption.

Yet, there was a rush to adopt the recommendations immediately and Trustees were expected to approve the Report without serious discussion. Disapproval was not an option. The rush was on.

One Year and five months later, Dallas ISD is faced with another very serious financial crisis.

At the Samuell meeting on April 26, 2007, I asked the Board to take time to actually study and discuss the recommendations before rushing to adopt them. The Board paid no regard to its responsibility to deliberate and take time to get it right. The Board rushed to adopt the recommendations without careful evaluation of the cost and financial consequences to the district.

Seven Trustees were present at the Board Meeting at Samuell High School. Those present were Jack Lowe, Nancy Bingham, Jerome Garza, Leigh Ann Ellis, Edwin Flores, Adam Medrano, and Carla Ranger. Two Trustees were absent - Ron Price and Lew Blackburn. The vote was 6-0. Carla Ranger abstained.

The following are my actual remarks at Samuell High School on the Dallas Achieves recommendations:

Begin Quote

"This is a very important issue. It is worthy of our best and most conscientious consideration. It seems to me that our responsibility is to carefully review the full implications of such an important report.

"We first discussed the report two weeks ago. The report is a result of many months of effort by many people who could not have possibly done it in a two week period of time.

"Therefore, I am challenged by our approving it - this very intensive initiative - in a two week period of time.

"It seems to me that responsibility as elected Trustees is a broader and higher responsibility.

"We are responsible to the general public at large and the people of our district who elected us.

"I believe it would be beneficial for us Trustees to discuss the report among ourselves with our Superintendent and staff.

"In addition, it seems it would be beneficial also to provide the general public the opportunity to give input to the Board of Trustees.

"We did not share the results of the report with the community before we are adopting them.

"The public at large has no opportunity to even hear the results of this report even if done solely within our own districts and based on our own individual efforts as Trustees.

"In other words, it may not be appropriate, or responsible for us to rush to approve something as important as this initiative with as much work as the Commission has given to it without a process that includes a little more time for us to deliberate.

"Therefore, I do not believe it appropriate to approve the report tonight after only a two week period.

"I would suggest that the Board be responsible to the public that elected us and give further consideration to this important document and make our decisions at a later date after visiting with our own internal administration and staff.

"That is my suggestion. If I need to put that in the form of an amendment, I will do so.

Jack Lowe - Board President - "think you have to put that in the form of an amendment."

Carla Ranger - "I would like to amend the Motion or ask that we amend the Motion to delay acting on this report until the June meeting and place the report for discussion on the Agenda for the May briefing in order for us to discuss it with the Superintendent and the administation.

Jack Lowe - Board President - "Do we have a second?

Lowe - "Motion fails for lack of a second.

Lowe - "Further discussion?"

End Quote

I believe the Trustees of Dallas ISD acted irresponsibly in adopting the Dallas Achieves recommendations withour careful discussion and accountability for potential financial impact.

The Board rushed through approval. The Superintendent rushed through implementation beginning with an immediate delayering and major reorganization.

Both the Board and Superintendent acted irresponsibly. The District now pays a heavy price. Pain will be inflicted again on employees to cover the irresponsible actions of Trustees and the Superintendent.

The Trustees should end the rubber stamp era and act like responsible Trustees.

It is time for a change.