School Board fires superintendent

The Duval County School Board has scheduled a special Tuesday meeting to discuss Superintendent Joseph Wise's contract, which extends through Oct. 31, 2009. Four of seven votes are needed to terminate his employment. Wise has been superintendent since November 2005.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

In today's Times-Union

Board Chairwoman Vicki Drake said she and her colleagues are in no rush to begin a superintendent search.

Read a recap of yesterday's events at http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/101807/met_209428449.shtml

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Board Votes Unanimously to Give Wise $275,000

Technically, Wise was allowed to resign and receive compensation equal to a year's salary, or $275,000.

By the way, ousted Superintendent Joseph Wise and Chief of Staff David Sundstrom did not attend the meeting. No one spoke on their behalf either, but Wise's lawyers have been in contact with the board's attorneys over the past days.

The board also vote unanimously to keep Sundstrom on administrative leave (he and Wise were put on leave at the meeting yesterday). They didn't discuss whether that will be paid or unpaid, and his contract expires June 30, 2008. Sundstrom is paid roughly $160,000 annually and he has 8 months left on his contract.

Chairwoman Vicki Drake is now sharing some encouraging words with the audience.

"We are not going to miss a beat. You watch, great things are going to happen in Duval County," she said. "Keep the faith and stay in there with us because Duval County is headed onward and upward."

What do you guys think about the agreement with Wise?


Lawyers Recommend One Year's Pay to Wise

The General Counsel's Office recommends that Superintendent Joseph Wise receive one year's pay under settlement agreement that allows him to immediately part ways with the district.

His annual salary is $275,000. By striking this deal, Wise gets a large sum of money but the board also gets to have him out of office immediately, as they would like. Both sides avoid any potential court battles.

A motion is on the floor for the board to accept the attorney's recommendation. Now they are discussing it.

It seems like the crowd is ready for a vote. Many people in the audience visibly or audibly sighed when board members began asking questions, delaying a vote.

Setting the Stage for Part II

Folks are gathering for the meeting and the crowd is a little smaller than yesterday, though the room is still pretty full. But there seems to be even more media here today.
Right now, all seven board members are already on the dais. I haven't seen Superintendent Joseph Wise or Chief of Staff David Sundstrom and doesn't look like they will take their seats.
The board members look pretty relaxed. Everyone was smiling before the meeting.
Karen Chastain and Cindy Laquidara from the General Counsel's Office have just taken their seats. They represented the School Board in ironing out the settlement agreement with Wise.
Just in case someone needs catching up, the School Board voted to fire Wise yesterday. The settlement agreement could give him compensation between $70,000 and $600,000, depending on where the board's lawyers and the district's lawyers come to agreement.
Chairwoman Vicki Drake just started the meeting and Laquidara has begun speaking. Keep tuned in.


“Important Message” from interim Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals

I am gearing up for the 4 p.m. School Board meeting to discuss the
separation agreement with ousted Superintendent Joseph Wise. Look for
live posts soon, just like yesterday.

Before I go, I want to leave you with an e-mail interim
Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals sent to all district employees last
night. In it, he both encourages and assures the systems' 15,000
teachers, staff and administrators in light of recent events. I found
this message while reading Wise's e-mails this morning.


Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2007 6:20 PM
Subject: Important Message

With so much information floating around about what happened today at
the Special School Board meeting to discuss Superintendent Wise's
contract, I want to assure you that we are staying the course. We
will continue to work with the Board to provide quality education for
all students in Duval County Public Schools.

As you have probably heard, Superintendent Wise was put on
Administrative Leave until a decision is made by the Board at the
continuation of the Special Board meeting tomorrow at 4 p.m.

The Board voted this morning to give me delegation of authority over
the school district until the Board makes their final decision.

We have a strong team in place and we will continue to focus on
teaching and learning and student achievement.

Keep up the great work. I will continue to update you as we move
forward with the great things that are happening at DCPS. If you
have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

Ed Pratt-Dannals

Acting Superintendent

Wise: Before I Go, About That Bonus …

For those that have kept up with my coverage over time, you know that I sometimes read the Superintendent's e-mails. Well, I was doing some catching up this morning and came across a chain of e-mails that began Monday when Wise tried to collect his $6,000 bonus.
This is money Wise has been due since this summer, when it became clear he met two of nine performance goals in his contract. He is owed $4,000 for drastically increasing Advanced Placement enrollment and $1,733.33 for increasing the percentage of students promoted to the next grade level.
Some have criticized the superintendent about the bonus because they come in two categories in which he exerted direct control. As you may recall, he ordered high school principals to triple the number of students taking AP, and, with the School Board's blessing, he changed the promotion requirements for middle and high school students.
Another interesting twist: Wise said this summer that wanted to donate his bonus to a local education non-profit, likely the Alliance for World Class Education. Many of the prominent business people who are members of the Alliance are the same folks who supported the board in parting ways with Wise.
Before I share excerpts from the e-mail chain, I want to let you know I'll be adding entries here throughout the day and blogging live from the 4 p.m. meeting this evening when the board will discuss the settlement agreement with Wise. Check in often, and continue to leave your comments.

From: Wise, Joseph J.
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2007 7:42 AM
To: Giles, Thresa C.; Reynolds, Vicki R.; Ballentine, Timothy R.
Subject: Appendix B

TG [Note from Tia: Dr. Wise loves to abbreviate. In emails, he uses initials to address people and sign his name]

In light of the drama ensuing, it is wise to calculate the appendix B bonus pay owed me and submit accordingly. We should calculate and wrap this up today if possible.


From: "Ballentine, Timothy R." <ballentint@dreamsbeginhere.org>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2007 11:04:31 -0400
To: "Wise, Joseph J." <wisej@dreamsbeginhere.org>, "Giles, Thresa C." <gilest@dreamsbeginhere.org>, "Reynolds, Vicki R." <ReynoldsV@dreamsbeginhere.org>
Subject: RE: Appendix B

... According to my calculations, the Superintendent is entitled to performance pay in the amount of $5,733.33 for the 2006-07 school year based on the results in targets #7 and #8.

From: Wise, Joseph J.
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2007 11:08 AM
To: Ballentine, Timothy R.; Giles, Thresa C.; Reynolds, Vicki R.
Subject: Re: Appendix B


Who takes this from here?

From: "Reynolds, Vicki R." <ReynoldsV@dreamsbeginhere.org>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2007 13:23:17 -0400
To: "Wise, Joseph J." <wisej@dreamsbeginhere.org>, "Ballentine, Timothy R." <ballentint@dreamsbeginhere.org>, "Giles, Thresa C." <gilest@dreamsbeginhere.org>
Subject: RE: Appendix B

As soon as Karen Chastain [Note from Tia: she is the school system's attorney] verifies Tim's calculations, I will submit for payment.

Vicki Reynolds
Chief Human Resource Officer

Delaware readers keeping up

Delaware media are keeping their eye on what's going on here with Dr. Wise.

Wise was formerly the Christina School District superintendent before coming to Jacksonville in 2005. The Christina School District, which is located in Wilmington, is Delaware's largest.

Check out DelewareOnline.com's most recent story at http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071017/NEWS03/710170358/1006/NEWS . Check out their readers' comments.

An AM radio station, WDEL, also has coverage at http://www.wdel.com/news.php?n=N&s=3 .

Are you reading this from Delaware? What are teachers, parents, students or anyone else saying about what's going on up here?