Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Board discusses problems with superintedent evaluation system

J-E News Editor
Webster County School Board members met with Dale Gray on Monday night for training on how to effectively evaluate a superintendant. Gray is a member of the Hancock County School Board and a trainer for the Kentucky School Board Association (KSBA). 
Under KRS 156.557 school boards are required to evaluate the effectiveness of their superintendent on a yearly basis. The results of that evaluation become public knowledge, which is available to members of the public on request.

Webster County’s board members expressed their concern over the system, which calls for an evaluations that will be made public but does not provide a means for termination of a superintendant.
“There is not another job where you evaluate someone and then give that evaluation to the press,” said board member Tim McCormick. “I do think the superintendent should be evaluated, but I’m uncomfortable giving that to the press.”
He did say that he agreed the people who vote the board members into office do deserve to know if they are doing what they were elected to do.
“I just think it’s unfair to the superintendent for their job performance to be made public,” he added.
“You can read articles about those evaluations all across the state, and usually they’re good,” said Gray.
“You’ll look pretty stupid if you’ve just hired a superintendent and you give them a bad evaluation,” McCormick stated. “If you give your superintendent a bad evaluation, then the public wants to know why you don’t just get rid of him. Because we can’t. There are a lot of flaws in that system.”
Board chairman Jeff Pettit was in agreement with McCormick.
“The superintendant is a tax paid job,” Pettit said. “But I don’t know that the magistrates evaluate the judge executive. It is a flawed system in a lot of ways.”
Gray pointed out that in most places around the state, the school board superintendant is one of the highest paying jobs in the county.
According to board members, in today’s education job market, it is almost a requirement to give an experienced superintendant a three to four year contract. Once that contract is signed, it is nearly impossible for the board to remove a superintendant unless he or she does something illegal. Even if that superintendant does horribly on the evaluation.
Board member Mickey Dunbar also agreed that there needed to be a mechanism by which a superintendent could be removed for poor performance.
“What it really comes down to is how good a job you do when you hire a superintendant,” Pettit said. “If you did a good job, then evaluation should be a good job for everyone.”