Friday, February 25, 2011

School Board Considers Firing Superintendent (You Think?)

I feel like today I have to live on the Seattle Times' website. Here's yet another story about the Board and what they are considering. Appearing before the Times' editorial board today, the Board said this:

Seattle School Board President Steve Sundquist said Friday the board is considering firing Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson or buying out her contract in light of a report's findings that she didn't do more to stop misuse of public money in a district contracting program.

He didn't answer questions about any negotiations with the Superintendent except that she has a lawyer. He said, "All options are on the table."

Boy, I hope not. It will stink to high heaven to have to give her any money to leave (although I'll bet it's in her contract).

Hey, and DeBell calls what's happening downtown "a culture problem."

Let's go to the Moss-Adams report, shall we?

If you don't change the culture of a bureaucracy, you change nothing.

I said that on KUOW this morning and I believe it (especially after this debacle).

8 comments:

Orca Mom said...

Eakes report, shush.

Guess who else is a former King County Prosecutor?

Yes, Fay Chess-Prentice the Assistant General Counsel who MGJ picked to run the HR department earlier this year.

She has those connections and when her paralegal is done with the conviction for selling crack last summer, should be a great source of info about other stands of interlocking "friends" in local government.

I bet Eakes and Chess-Prentice were at the County at the same time. Dorothy?

Charlie Mas said...

What's interesting to me here is that the Seattle Times editorial board was able to summon Director Sundquist, Director DeBell, and Patricia Eakes to their offices today.

Hmmm. Do you suppose that they would have answered a summons by Mel, Meg, and Dorothy?

ConcernedTeacher said...

Slog has had pretty good coverage of this too. I prefer to give them and Seattle PI the traffic rather than visit the Seattle Times site.

-ConcernedTeacher

Jan said...

No, Charlie. They would have barred the door. The sad thing (in an otherwise happy circumstance) is that the questions would have been SO much more on target, and SO much more incisive and insightful than anything that the ST will be able to ask -- UNLESS the Times has finally unleashed its investigative resources and spent the last several days immersed in not only the investigator's findings, but also the audit from last year, Mel's and your and others' posts on this blog, Meg's statistical analyses, etc.

I don't have much hope, but I guess I have a little, that snow has begun to softly fall on the poppy fields, waking them all up and breaking the "we are ed reformers, ed reform is good, all pushback from teachers is because they are union lackeys, parentsand Seattle citizens know nothing and have no right to be involved, or even informed" spell they have drowsed under for so long.

Charlie Mas said...

Speaking of the "culture problem", Dr. Goodloe-Johnson saw the Sutor Group report as a public relations problem and she tried not to report up to the Board about the content of the report. Instead, she told them about it as a public relations issue when the Puget Sound Business Journal was going to write about it, not when it reported the corruption in the District.

This behavior exemplifies the "culture problem" in Seattle Public Schools: the defensive fortress response to criticism - any criticism - and the extreme reluctance to report up bad news.

The Superintendent worsens the dysfunction of the culture in the District. She doesn't fix it.

Anonymous said...

Orca Mom,

You are the first on this blog (2/25/11 at 12:34PM)to invite further scrutiny of the swept-under-the-rug prosecution of general counsel Gary Ikeda's employee since last fall for dealing crack cocaine out of his apartment, allegedly using the street name "Teach". While described as an innocuous "paralegal", in the Seattle Times (Sept. 21, 2010) and elsewhere including this blog (Legal Roundup, Sept. 23, 2010), Mr. Ronnie Bryant's unreported official Seattle School District title in the General Counsel's office at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence was in fact "Central Office 504 Coordinator."

While it may not mean much to the uninitiated, this position is one of infinite public trust and responsibility, as it took not the ST police reporter but the opening anonymous commenter (rbn1234) to point out: "Ronnie Bryant is a paralegal and works in the legal office of the Seattle School District. He oversees all 504 plans for the district. 504 plans are created under the ADA [A]ct and he is the coordinator of all 504 plans for the district and as such sees sensitive and highly personal information for many students, including at-risk youth and youth recovering/coping with substance abuse. He is/was the gatekeeper for the program, you didn't get a 504 plan if it didn't go through Ronnie. This was also clearly a non-functioning part of the school district with many complaints and no apparent action taken regarding lack of compliance and complaints. Mr. Bryant was clearly lacking in judgment and it is abhorrent that a[n alleged] crack dealer was put in charge of some of the most vulnerable students in the Seattle School District but this clearly goes beyond him, his superiors are also culpable."

It was not the Seattle Times (nor this blog), but rather the Stranger Slog (Sept. 23, 2010) that off-handedly mentioned Mr. Bryant also happens to be a convicted felon whose rap sheet includes check forgery. Like his influential JSCEE HQ position, this significant detail nowhere appeared in the brief Seattle Times report of the arrest. Nor was anything about Mr. Bryant's arrest ever noted by the Seattle Times education reporter, Linda Shaw.

The Ronnie Bryant story must not be confused with a simultaneous separate criminal prosecution of a high school counselor on an oxycodone distribution charge; the real relevance here is that alleged crack dealer Mr. Bryant was directly supervised by the general counsel in the legal department's own HQ office, and at the next level by the Superintendant herself. The Ronnie Bryant story thus goes right to the heart of our confidence in those higher-ups -- including Superintendant Maria Goodloe-Johnson -- who would actually choose to entrust the destinies of our disabled Seattle schoolchildren districtwide to this convicted felon! Does this assignment really indicate the level of respect the district chiefs consider due to our disabled schoolchildren?

Anonymous said...

Moral and ethical issues aside, the central office personnel assignment of a convicted felon and now accused crack dealer to oversee Section 504 disability plans districtwide (IEP disability plans are coordinated separately) shows that a huge fiscal red flag was ignored by General Counsel Ikeda and ultimately by Superintendant Goodloe-Johnson. By delegating the District's Section 504 disability plan compliance to Ronnie Bryant, Gary Ikeda and Superintendant Goodloe-Johnson potentially jeopardized *ALL* Seattle school district sources of funding from the federal government, because federal funds are cut off from any school district that is not in full compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and other federal disability laws.

As parents of a Seattle public schools student with a disability, we were appalled to learn of the arrest and prior felony record last Fall through public reports. This was only after the Seattle school district had already dispatched Mr. Bryant as its controlling representative to our own sensitive Section 504 disability committee student meetings, which unbeknownst to us were being conducted by a convicted felon.

Participating in those meetings, we found Central Office Section 504 Plan Coordinator Mr. Ronnie Bryan to be abusive and domineering. Despite his actual lack of formal legal qualifications, Mr. Bryant constantly comported himself as something equivalent to an attorney or even a judge, making repeated authoritative mischaracterizations of federal disability law, in which he consistently understated the district's federal obligation to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE). On critical points, Mr. Bryant misled those teachers and health professionals participating on our child's Rehabilitation Act Section 304 committee.

Why is the Ronnie Bryant story relevant now? Because Superintendant Goodloe-Johnson and General Counsel Gary Ikeda chose to entrust this particular central office legal department employee with the fates of Seattle's disabled schoolchildren, and indeed the district's federal funding too!

Shame on them. Shame too on Seattle Times education reporter Linda Shaw, and for that matter the entire School Board, for never addressing this shocking betrayal of the public trust. Are you still reading now, David Boardman?

Anonymous said...

We should have signed off on the previous two comments regarding Central Office 504 Coordinator Mr. Ronnie Bryant. Please add the following signature,

Section 504 Family