cross post from HatCityBLOG
Although Danbury High School has a new leader, lingering questions remain in regards to the principal search process used by the Board of Education and School Superintendent Sal Pascarella.
Although the school board’s site visit trip to Arizona has certainly generated quite a deal of criticism, what I found most interesting had nothing to do with the amount of the trip or the number of people who went to Arizona, but rather the members of the board who were picked to go on the trip.
Unlike the school superintendent and members of the high school administration, the two members of the board of education who were picked to go on the trip, Democrat Rachel Austin and Republican Irving Fox, were not involved in any manner with the search process. What’s more intriguing is that the board members who were involved in the search process, Democrat Joan Hodge and Democrat Gladys Cooper, happened to be the most critical about the process as a whole and expressed their displeasure on the record.
From June 24th’s BOE meeting, here’s video footage of comments made by Cooper, Hodge, Austin, and Fox regarding the search process.
With such a difference of opinion between those who went on the trip and those who didn’t, after the meeting, I talked to one board member who went on the site visit trip, and one who didn’t go on the visit (but was involved in interviewing the principal candidates) to get their perspective on the the process as a whole.
Joan Hodge: Process was “very poorly organized”
Citing various concerns she had with the search process as a whole, in my interview with board member Hodge, she expanded on her displeasure with certain elements of the process, such as committee members who shared confidential information with members of the public, and legitimate questions regarding the site visit trip to Arizona.
Irving Fox: Process was a cost savings for taxpayers
Taking a different approach on the matter, in my interview with board member Fox, the one of the two individuals from the board who went on the site visit to Arizona defended the trip and highlighted the cost savings achieved by the direction the board took in the search process decisions.
In the end, whether or not the search process used by the board was worth the savings to the taxpayers (and the public outrage) is up for the residents of Danbury to decide.