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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wise is out; now what?

Both sides have until 4 p.m. today to reach a settlement. Read more about this at http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/101707/met_209123401.shtml

Learn more about Ed Pratt-Dannals, the district's interim superintendent, at http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/101707/met_209123389.shtml.

Columnist Mark Woods writes about Wise's time as superintendent at http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/101707/woo_209117048.shtml.

Also, many readers wrote in to Rants & Raves to discuss the issue. Take a look at some of them at http://www.jacksonville.com/community/cc/rrmetro/

What do you think should be done next? What qualities should the next superintendent have?


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Its intersting Mr. Williams gave a passionate commentary for the former superintendant and Kris Barnes was the lone dissenting vote on the school board. That makes sense. Dr. Wise promoted Mr. Williams and Kris Barnes is a "close friend" of Mr. Williams. How cozy?

Edward said...

Now what? How about get rid of his cronies from Delaware, prove that his termination was justified for incompetence, minimizing his payout.

Then reinstate some of the dedicated educators who were let go for standing up to this egomaniac.

After that, do the world a favor and let all school boards and educational institutions know about our experience with this guy.

Anonymous said...

Now What you ask...Has anybody seen Nancy Snyder? If so, could you please ask her if she would consider applying for the supt position?

Kudos to the first three bloggers.

jen32258 said...

What I want to know is how this man was able to get this job in the first place. There is a widely-known practice called "CHECKING REFERENCES" in the corporate world. Wouldn't we kinda sorta want to do the same for someone who holds the education of our children in his or her hands for God's sake?!? It was no secret what he did to Christina School District in Delaware. The teachers and parents from this district were more than thrilled to get rid of him - thought we must be pure idiots to hire him. Was there nobody more qualified that wanted this position at the time?!? Considering the salary - I would think there might have been more than a few.

I call for not only an audit (before we allow this man to take even more money away from our district as severance) and an official inquiry as to why our School Board decided to hire him in the first place. Furthermore, I think, just as with Clay County, we make this position an ELECTED position immediately - only having an interim step in until the next election.

There are some serious questions that need to be answered as to how we are in this position to begin with. Duval needed a strong leader to help make our school system a leader nationwide....not an alleged felon.

Publius said...

Should we elect them?

If Dr. Wise was correct in his assertion that the School Board, having hired him, had no authority to meddle in decisions as large as establishing new Deputy Superintendent positions, reconfiguring the entire administrative Table of Organization (twice in two years!), purchasing multi-million dollar intangibles (you have no idea what these people spent on "curricula" such as Springboard) and so on, then what is the Board actually there to do besides fill some chairs and hire a Superintendent every few years?

I have no reason to think the public-at-large would do a better job selecting a Superintendent than the Board did but it could hardly do worse. And Duval County could save the costs associated with their salaries, emoluments, meetings, staff and so on.

In the case of Wise, for example, he would hardly have survived an open election in which his opponent would have had ample time to inform the public about the shenanigans in Delaware that only later came to light through the TUs reporting. So there is a benefit in having direct elections for officials who exercise administrative power.

From today's perspective it is hard to remember that electing accountable public officials was formerly the norm in American governance: that the elected body had the authority to act and hired civil servants merely to carry out its decisions. Beginning at the turn of the last century the "Progressive" or "Reform" movement evolved which sought to separate the "ugly" and inherently "corrupt" (their point of view, not mine), political process from the exercise of governmental power. We also see it in the creation of various "Authorities" which exercise enormous power, including in many states the power to issue bonds without voter sanction, while remaining totally unaccountable to the voters. The chief engineer and exponent of this type of shadow government was the late Robert Moses.

This movement created the "City Manager" or "Weak Mayor" form of government, for example, in which an unelected bureaucrat makes the decisions and an elected City Council (or School Board for that matter) can relax in office while avoiding political fallout for tough decisions by blaming them on "Staff" or "Commissions" or, as in this case, "The Superintendent." If Wise had not wanted to skip town and take the Village People along with him to his next career plateau, he could easily have remained in office by offering the tiniest face-saving cover to the School Board. After all, the issue that precipitated his dismissal was not his dismal performance, his corrupt affiliations with commercial suppliers of intellectual property to the system, his placement of employees with whom he was having intimate relations of an "aberrant" nature in jobs such as school principal (displacing qualified candidates unwilling to "bend" to the new system), his use of public funds to travel and "lecture" (read: promote products offered by his commercial contacts) and so on. Rather the "crime" that cost him his job was to threaten the entire School Board with a series of exposures that would be damaging to their standing in the community in which they live and serve. Every one of these people saw that they too could get the Priestly-Jackson letter whenever it suited Dr. Wise. Of course they had to fire him.

Their dismissal of him therefore is not a sign that they hold political power but rather that they are politically weak: he tweaked their noses and they will end up giving him more than half a million dollars for doing it.

Anonymous said...

RE the Village Person: Amazed that, even though Wise-***'s sexuality has never been a secret, it's never been mentioned in the MSM. Even more amazed that his domestic troubles haven't been mentioned--if the super were black or female, how quickly would these embarrassments been reported?

Speaking of which, while the best candidate should always be taken, we have never had an African-American or a female (or both) as a permanent superintendent. We should strongly consider that for this next selection. Also, can we GET SOMEONE LOCAL to run the system for a change? The last two interlopers messed us up pretty badly.

Lastly, we need a person who understands that the School Board is HIS/HER boss, not the other way around!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we should begin to think in terms of partnerships rather than who is whom's "boss??"

Anonymous said...

I hope that everyone in Jax has noticed all the post from Delaware residents in the various blogs on Wise. He left the Christinia School District with dozens of lost jobs, a 28,000,000 deficit and a deep hole to dig out of. Put him and his cohorts in jail.

Anonymous said...

As an FYI for "edward" who commented about "his cronies from Delaware". When Wise came to Delaware he brought those crooks with him. Neither he nor they are from Delaware.

Publius said...

Native of Jacksonville

Yes, the Village Person is/was raised in Jacksonville. At least he went to high school here. This is well-known and was made-much-of when he was hired.

But the basic decency of this wonderful town did not rub off. So folks down here don't think he came from Delaware, a fine upstanding state. Perhaps it's best we think of him as what to Soviets used to call a rootless cosmopolite.

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher who has proven results in my classroom. I make $40K a year. Fire me and give me $275K for no work! Wise wanted his little $6K bonus too before he left, but wanted the teachers to work for one week with NO PAY becuase he can't balance a budget. I think $275K is less than the future damage he would do in two more years. Happy day in Duval County!

Anonymous said...

I liked Wise. I like the fact that he stood up to the board. It is the same old story here in Jacksonville, bring someone in that is not from Jacksonville or part of the good old black or white buddy system and they won't last long in this City's politics. There will be other Wises. I have never encounted so many closed minded people like the ones in Jacksonville. You all are so intimidated by so called outsiders. But, like it or not they are coming, oh! many are here and they are going to rule because they have open minds.