by Max Brantley
I told you last night that the Little Rock School Board is demonstrating consensus dissatisfaction with elements of the work of Superintendent Linda Watson. A vote at a special meeting tonight on her request for another administrative position -- deputy superintendent -- will be some measure of that feeling. But there are also concerns about her resistance to work of a strategic planning committee and a lack of careful consideration of how best to use federal stimulus money to reach kids.
I'll try to check in tonight on the meeting. But, meanwhile, I got a response from Board member Micheal Daugherty to my question about his feelings about the deputy's position. He happens to be a black board member, which I raise only because of the wide perception (not accurate lately) that board members vote along racial lines. Watson is black. Said Daugherty:
In regard to the question of hiring a deputy superintendent, I do not think the time is right given we have done little or nothing to change the current administration and the business as usual attitude that continues to be evident. If the current administration is not working we should look at changing it before adding another layer of bureaucracy. Also, if this move is to be about financial accountability and student achievement, the people we have hired for those positions must be exactly that, accountable.
Perhaps you see now why I say something is afoot. Her annual evaluation is next week.
Board meeting should be on Comcast at 5. Let me know if I miss anything.
UPDATE: That was quick. The request for a deputy superintendent was tabled with no discussion. Board members Baker Kurrus and Melanie Fox both voted against the motion to table, preferring presumably to have an up-or-down (down in their case) vote.