School hearing | Arkansas Blog

School hearing

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Federal Judge G. Thomas Eisele had a brief hearing this morning to go over his order yesterday denying Superintendent Roy Brooks' request that he remove Board members Katherine Mitchell and Michael Daugherty from proceedings to suspend or fire him. He also urged better communication among the parties.

It is unclear today if the board majority will go through with a suspension hearing, or simply wait to present the case against Brooks before a hearing officer at a hearing on his firing scheduled for May 30. At this point, the proceedings seem so likely to be duplicative that common sense would seem to dictate holding only the firing hearing, whose date draws near. To date, however, common sense hasn't guided much of anything.

Jennifer Reed got nowhere in efforts to question Board President Mitchell about plans, if any, for an interim superintendent if Brooks is ousted, and what her desires might be on undoing Brooks' administrative shakeup and doing some shakeup of her own. Those are a superintendent's decision and the Board's decision, she said. They become increasingly important questions, however, and a refusal to discuss them adds circumstantial backing to the reports I'm getting that there is a plan under construction.

Brooks wouldn't comment. His attorney wasn't prepared to comment on whether the superintendent would appeal the order allowing Mitchell and Daugherty to participate. Brooks suit against the two remains active. Neither board members indicated an interest in taking up Eisele on a suggestion that they could voluntarily withdraw from hearing the case.

An off-the-wall thought: If there's a growing inevitability about Brooks' departure -- and concern that his opponents are resisting a buyout because it would, with the 90-day notice provision, hinder mass job changes -- couldn't Brooks' supporters call the other side's hand by getting behind a buyout? Board member Dianne Curry, who voted for Brooks' firing, has in the past reportedly been willing to consider a buyout. She could form a contrary consensus with the three Brooks supporters on that idea. Just noodling here, not hinting that this might be an active idea.


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