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State Department ignores State School Board directive

By Larry Lee
Education Matters

As the Montgomery County school “intervention” has tediously unfolded with little to see but mounting expenses for high-priced consultants and well-paid administrators, the State School Board finally threw up its hands on June 8, 2017, and said “Enough is enough.”

So they passed a resolution saying all spending for Montgomery should stop until Mike Sentance and his folks came up with some budget numbers. As we explained here, this is when Sentance tried to stop Montgomery from hiring teachers and blaming it all on the state school board. When certain State Board members learned what Sentance was doing they quickly scrambled to bring some clarity to the situation so that Montgomery could hire teachers.

(Apparently neither Sentance or any of his “management team” know enough about the Foundation funding program to understand that State funding for teaching positions can not be tampered with by the State department.)

The State board met on July 11. Their brief agenda included the following item: “Resolution to Rescind the Previously Adopted Resolution Authorizing a Hiring Freeze Related to the Montgomery Public Schools Intervention.”

However, if you go to the two-minute mark of this video of that meeting, you hear Cynthia McCarty make a motion to pull this item from the agenda. Stephanie Bell seconded the motion, which then passed. At that point, the agenda–minus the Montgomery resolution–was approved.

So the resolution to cease and desist on hiring administrators for Montgomery is still in place.

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One of Mike Sentance’s early hires was Jermall Wright of Philadelphia, PA. He is listed as “State Special Assistant” in the “Office of School Improvement/Turnaround.” His salary is $168,621.60 per year.

Either he did not attend the July 11 board meeting or Sentance failed to tell him the hiring freeze was still in place.

Because on July 12 Wright posted on social media:

“I am elated that we have recruited and assembled a super star team of educators to join the Montgomery Public School Intervention Leadership Team. Keith Miles, the former PG County Teacher of the Year; accomplished high school turnaround principal in Philadelphia and Camden, NJ will be joining us as Principal Manager for our Innovation High Schools. The infamous Evan Daniels, from Duuuuuuvvvvvall; who lead Andrew Jackson High School to the grade of B will be joining us as Principal Manager of our Innovation Middle Schools. Dr. Stephen Bournes, all the way from Chicago via Camden, NJ was selected to be our Chief Academic Officer. And last….but not least, Aaron Dukes, will be joining me at the State Department as our Director of Professional Learning and Performance. This is truly an #ATeam. Excited to work with and learn from these awesome leaders. Montgomery….watch out!!!!”

From 1810 to 1820 the population of what was to become Alabama grew by 1,000 percent as “Alabama Fever” swept the east coast with promises of endless rich farm land and great wealth from cotton.

Apparently Alabama Fever has broken out again, but this time it is far-flung educators being told the streets of Montgomery are flowing with gold and they need to hurry to be a part of it all.

Forget the part where we told more than half the principals in Montgomery that they were too good to get a 10 percent raise. Forget the part where we said the state needed to intervene in Montgomery schools because they were having financial difficulties.

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And forget what the State School Board says. Who are they anyway?

How many different ways can you say “madness”?


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