Bernard Taylor’s time as Superintendent of East Baton Rouge Parish Schools is almost up, thankfully. But, Taylor decided last week to leave the EBR school system some parting gifts. Those “gifts” are 112 new permanent administrators.
The Advocate reports that some on the EBR Parish School Board aren’t too happy about the decisions:
The list of 112, labeled as administrative reassignments, were reported publicly Friday afternoon and the promotions went into effect Monday.
Under questioning from School Board members Tuesday, Taylor said the promotions are justified, that all 112 have good job evaluations and are in jobs not likely to be eliminated in the near future. He denied he’s trying to make life more difficult for his successor.
“No one is trying to tie anyone’s hand. No one,” Taylor said. “Anyone going down that road is dead wrong and misinformed.”
What’s Taylor’s rationale for making all of these people permanent just as he was walking out of the door? Just trust him. We’re not kidding on that.
Taylor apologized to the board for waiting until he’s almost gone to fix the problem but said it’s needed fixing for a long time.
“I’ve earned the right to be trusted in my decision-making,” he said. “When I came here, I inherited everything that was here. Everything. I don’t remember any hue and outcry about this then.”
Why wouldn’t people trust Bernard Taylor’s judgement? Aside from the fact that a state audit found widespread cheating in the EBR school system. Plus, the fact that Bernard Taylor is a known incompetent also hurts his cause.
I looked at the performance of some of these “interim” administrators whose jobs became permanent thanks to Taylor. One of them is Curtis Walker, the principal of Park Forest Middle School. He was hired in 2011 and according to the 2013-14 statewide school assessments, his school scores a “D” and is on the decline. Another is Gavin Lewis, principal of Broadmoor Middle School. His school also scores a “D” but it’s improving, slightly. Many others were hired over the summer and should’ve been offered two-year contracts when they were initially hired.
There is a state law in play. The state requires that administrators work under two-year contracts with clear performance requirements. To keep flexibility for future superintendents, EBR hired administrators under an “interim” basis.
While this system needed changing to follow state law, it is odd that Taylor dropped this many permanent administrators at once. Taylor is trying to leave his stamp on EBR schools, beyond just a cheating scandal.
What EBR needs is more charter schools and a less centralized management. That’s the way to protect our children from future Bernard Taylors.