In a move that looks mostly like forestalling the inevitable to preserve future job opportunities, WAVE-3 reports Dr. Sheldon Berman, superintendent of the Jefferson County Public School District, has asked the local school board not to reconsider their vote in November 2010 to end his tenure.
So far, no news agency in Louisville has indicated enough school board members there are willing to change their November vote to save Berman’s job. Berman apparently realizes that a second, negative vote could mostly just generate more heated discussion about the decline in the school district’s academic ranking among Kentucky’s 174 districts during his three-year tenure.
Meanwhile, in a separate story, WAVE-3 is also reporting that staffing of the Jefferson County superintendent search committee is under fire because full-time Jefferson County Teachers Association president Brent McKim is being named as one of the two ‘teacher’ representatives on the search committee. McKim is a full-time union head, and it is reported he is not currently teaching in the classroom. Thus, his appointment does not appear to comply with the requirement for the ‘teacher’ category in the search committee program. The Kentucky Office of Education Accountability (OEA) has received a complaint, and the matter may be placed before the Kentucky Attorney General’s office for a ruling.
Having a union leader participate in the selection of a new superintendent could be a serious policy blunder. The superintendent plays a major role in union contract negotiations.
For example, Memorandum of Agreement negotiations between the union and the Jefferson County School District have already been called into serious question by a recent OEA report, “Analysis of Collective Bargaining Agreements in Kentucky Districts.” Under the heading “Teacher Distribution” which begins on page 40 in the report, the OEA indicates the school district and the union entered into a MOA that violated provisions of House Bill 176 from the 2010 Regular Legislative Session. This improperly disrupted the assignment of experienced teachers to Jefferson County’s Persistently Low-Achieving Schools. That is the kind of thing that happens when the union helps select ‘tame’ superintendents.
This isn’t the first time the Jefferson County Teachers Association has run afoul of committee staffing rules.
Several years ago, a Jefferson County Teachers Association officer was improperly named to the Kentucky Board of Education. That person was forced to leave after the impropriety became public and the Kentucky Senate refused to confirm the nomination.