With the interviews for the new Superintendent of Enterprise City Schools upcoming I wanted to pose two questions to the candidates. From my perspective they are important questions but will likely never be asked. It really doesn’t matter as the actions taken after being hired are the only answers that will matter in the long run.
(Q1) I am sure you are aware the reason you are being interviewed is the former superintendent was allegedly forced out, in his opinion and that of many others familiar with the situation, due to micro-management and intimidation by the current President of the School Board. If you need a refresher on this A City Divided provides a pretty good summary.
Knowing the potential for this to continue with any superintendent hired, since the President of the School Board has not changed nor indicated his behavior will change, are you committed and prepared to stand up to this when it occurs and make your decisions based on what is best for the students of Enterprise City Schools and not necessarily for the political or personal benefit of any school board member or city government official?
(Q2) Enterprise City Schools have a note coming due in 2016 with payments of $550,000 per year scheduled to start and continue until 2028. This is from an agreement between the school board and city council and Mayor in 2008 after the tornado that destroyed Enterprise High School and much of Hillcrest Elementary school in March 2007.
Both the school board and city council members and mayor have said they will work with each other when the time comes if the economy is good and tax receipts are good and the school system needs help. All of these are subjective conditions that can and will be interpreted differently due to the money involved.
Mark Jipson, former School Board President, has suggested a simple solution (If you want to read what I wrote about this in August you can see it here in Overtime!) that would honor the wishes both parties have voiced but neither have shown any interest or made any action I am aware of to put this plan into writing and put this issue to rest now, sooner rather than later.
In fact, the current school board president has indicated that we should just wait until 2016 and see how the economy and the school board is doing and take care of it then. This is one of the issues which he and the former superintendent disagreed. Mr. Jipson has presented this idea directly to the Mayor and City Clerk but they have chosen to ignore it as well. The only reason I can think of that a delay would be good for anyone is if the city has plans to profit from the devastation and tragedy of the tornado that destroyed schools and caused the death of 8 students.
The plan is simple. According to Mr. Jipson, they should amend the existing agreement to state, “If the revenue streams are large enough to pay for the bond debt, the school system will be waved of $550,000 for that year and if they’re insufficient, the school system will pay up to and not exceeding the amount that was agreed upon.” This ensures the note is paid back and the city is not being forced to pay for or profiting from this tragedy.
Would you commit to advocating for getting the current agreement amended in 2014 so this issue can be resolved and not become an election issue in 2016?
That is it. Two questions that I expect will not be asked. However whether asked or not, the answers will be provided over time. I hope they are favorable for the students of Enterprise City School System which would also be favorable for the City of Enterprise.
Here is a link where you can watch the superintendent interviews
I am not sure how long this will be available.
Until next time…
Originally posted on Peculiar Perspective on 11/11/2013