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October 30, 2008


Amy S

OK, I'll bite. Nobody remembers that in 2005 Dallas was looking for someone who could turn the academics of the district around. Nobody said back then "and make sure he's a financial whiz, too". We had a bond's worth of new buildings under construction, a superintendent who was leaving because his outside-of-district consulting gigs were giving certain people fits, and a (too) large population of kids that were not being educated. Dr. Hinojosa brought in a bunch of good people, experts in their fields (like Dr. Flores who is now superintendent of his own district), and one accountant who was unable to transition to the "school system" of accounting. I do know Dr. H slightly, and he has a heart shaped like a baseball - He Does Not Like To Lose, and this must be very hard on his family right now.

Our bond's worth of schools were built, and they needed to be staffed. Some teachers moved willingly, some refused to leave their schools. It's not surprising that the employee rosters had to grow to accomodate - and when the financial results came in the news was not good. Others witnessed the former "CFO" of the district at a board meeting explaining that there would be funding coming from the state. This did not happen in a vacuum, the board members had an opportunity (a responsibility) at that time to call for a committee to investigate - that shouldn't be the task of the superintendent.

I do not for one minute believe that Dr. Hinojosa meant for this to happen, yet the outrage from the community is at a level greater than given to many murderers. It coincides with a tough economic period, and follows on a district credit card scandal which had been growing for a longer period than the superintendent was in the job. Nobody has bothered to point out how other districts have had to fare - Plano ISD just dipped into their reserves for a second year in a row. I'm not saying it was great that the money was spent, but at least we had the money, and at least it went for teachers - not board member trips.

I don't want to minimize the pain that many teachers who were laid off and their families have endured - and for those who were not laid off, there was stress. In every industry right now, people are going through the same worries about job security, I can only hope there are services in place to help you get back on your feet.

The next CFO hired should have a completely seperate accounting department, one that oversees the payroll figures as well. He or she should report directly to the board the financial information, and the board should have a budget committee with a mix of people both with connections to the district and some with no ties to the district whatsoever.

I'm hard pressed to think of who would want the Superintendent's job given the 10 year history, not to mention the vitriol that has been spewed on the internet. One would think a candidate would do a little Googling during their job search and be horrified of facing such a populace.

The man is no quitter, and I admire that. Let's not be quitters either.

Rick Wamre

Good comments, Amy. It does appear this thing is turning into a witch hunt.

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