Be skeptical of Dansby’s claims

06/16/2014 4:28 PM

06/16/2014 4:29 PM

Former Fort Worth school district Superintendent Walter Dansby is on thin ice when he criticizes board members for unethical behavior. (See June 11 news story, “Bitter divorce: An inside look at the dispute between Walter Dansby and the school board.”)

Shortly after he was made interim superintendent, his own wife showed up on our employee roster. He said he didn’t know. I also understand that both of his daughters work for vendors that have a relationship with FWISD.

His favoritism toward employees is legendary. One of the first things he did was to promote the wife of a board member. He informed the board member of this, not the wife, by the way, first.

In 2012-13 he promoted or increased the salaries of a hundred employees without properly informing the board. After several of us complained, he gave more increases to some of the same employees.

Star-Telegram staff will recall that he told them he wasn’t going to give raises to the three new deputies. This wasn’t true.

Dansby’s budget proposal for 2014-15 includes $66 million in new spending (over 10 percent of our existing budget) at a time when the new pre-kindergarten population will not be fully funded by the state formula. This spending level would clearly be unsustainable, and it includes no money for reducing class size back to 2011-12 levels.

Reworking this proposal is a major task facing this board.

Dansby also did nothing to reduce the crippling reliance on testing, reaching five to six weeks of the school year in many cases.

Readers can fairly criticize the board for not retaining control over most hiring, as is provided for in state law, for refusing to maintain a finance committee and for our failure to address the testing situation.

They do, however, need to know that we were dealing with problems that we could not solve in any other way.

Ann Sutherland represents District 6 on the Fort Worth school district board of trustees.

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