Part 2: Is it Really “For the Kids”?
In Part 1 of this series, I compared the starting wages of some public school employees to show how those that deal directly with our kids are not seen as the most valuable employees by the administration and school board. This is in direct contradiction to their levy campaigns when they try to shame you into voting “For the Kids”. Not only are “the kids” not getting any of the money, it is not even going toward the employees that they have direct contact with on a daily basis. Case in point; The Story of the new High School Assistant Principal.
Our high school had a great boys basketball coach. The kids liked him, the parents liked him and he won games. We even made it to the state play-offs several times. Then out of no where, at the end of the 2011 season he announced his retirement. People that knew him were shocked. Then we started hear stories about someone from the administration coming to him and telling him that he was going to be replaced. He was told that a former local college coach was looking for work and they were going to hire him. Of coarse, they gave our coach the option to resign.
Now if your like me, you hear these kind of stories and you take them with a grain of salt. Rumors feed on mystery and the sudden resignation of a popular coach was perfect fertilizer for them. Then a couple weeks later the local paper reported that our school was in talks with a local former college coach to fill the vacancy. Pretty big coincidence. Thing is, this coach had been fired by the college with a year left on his contract because even though he had an overall winning record, the program was going downhill, he couldn’t recruit and he never qualified for the NCAA play-offs.
In part one, I told you about a football coach that had been hired as a hall monitor with a salary of 48,000.00 dollars per year. Well, when the official announcement came that our school was hiring this former basketball coach, it was announced that he was being hired as “Dean of Students” with a 58,000.00 per year salary and would “volunteer” his time to coach basketball. Sound familiar? This time there was a problem though. In their rush to hire a 58,000.00 per year basketball coach they did not realize that the official position they were giving him was a bid position in the teachers contract. When the teachers advised the administration that they intended to file a grievance over how the position was filled, they were told by a high level administrator that they would just make the new coach an Assistant Principal. One month after they hired our new Dean of Students, it was announced in the papers that he was going to receive a “change in title” to Assistant Principal *and* an increase in salary to 86,000.00 dollars per year. The official story put out by the school to explain the move was that they had always intended to hire the former college coach as an Assistant Principal, but they had to wait for him to pass the test for the license that would allow him to hold the position.
I confronted a school board member about this whole situation and was told that it was the intention from the start to hire him as an Assistant Principal because he was “absolutely the most qualified person for that job”, but they had to wait for him to get his license so they initially hired him as Dean of Students. Yep, read that again and let it sink in. A person who was not qualified to hold the position was the most qualified person for the position. Now you have to ask yourself; what is that saying about the administration’s opinion of the employees we currently have in the school system? I asked if we had any current teachers or administrators that had all of the qualifications for the position and was told we did, but the basketball coach was still more qualified. I also asked if the basketball coach even had any experience in the classroom and the answer I received was that he had a lot of classroom experience in addition to coaching.
Based on that answer, I decided to do a public records request for this basketball coach’s resume. You will probably be as surprised as I was to learn that the classroom experience that made this unqualified person the most qualified person for the position of High School Assistant Principal amounted to one year of teaching 7th grade in the 1980’s and one year of teaching 7th grade just prior to being hired by our school system.
As a taxpayer, you need to become a watchdog on your local school system. Don’t let them fool you with smoke and mirrors about how great they are because they get high ratings from the state. I guarantee you that there is money being wasted and if someone like you does not start asking questions and exposing the waste, then you’ll soon be asked again to support a levy “For the Kids”….