Your Attendance and Attention, Please

On July 14th at 7:00p.m., the OR School Board will vote on extending the superintendent’s contract length and on a possible salary increase. Dr. Bailey was hired in 2002 and his current contract runs through 2012. According to the terms of his contract, the board is under no obligation to act on his contract until July 2011. The following has been submitted to Mr. Keys Fillauer, chairman of the Oak Ridge Schools Board of Education:

Mr. Fillauer,

I understand that you are the sole person responsible for making the recommendation to the Oak Ridge School Board on Dr. Bailey’s contract extension and possible salary increase. I urge you to delay your recommendation out of consideration for the facts provided below.

According to his contracts (of which I have obtained complete copies) the board is not obligated to adopt any amendments at this time.

Contrary to the overwhelming evidence of decline in our schools since Dr. Bailey took the helm seven years ago, the board has issued him near-perfect evaluations every single year. They have also provided him with increasing benefits over the years that are highly questionable. Of you, I ask that this year, a true evaluation of the following matters be performed prior to any further consideration for the terms of Dr. Bailey’s employment with Oak Ridge Schools:

Declining Performance
Last month, ORS dropped completely off the Newsweek rankings (of high schools based on the Challenge Index) after steadily declining for the last 6 years from 256 to 929. Dr. Bailey’s response indicated that he was unconcerned about the matter and his explanation did not align with the facts presented on the Newsweek site.

Oak Ridge schools failed No Child Left Behind two years in a row for graduation rates. In 07/08 Oak Ridge High School joined some 8% of TN schools as being in “high priority” Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. The 08/09 figures show a great improvement, but we still fell short.

In 2007, U.S. News and World Reports produced its own ranking of America’s Best High Schools with the goal of determining which schools “set the best example of how to prepare students to achieve their post-graduation goals.” With over 18,700 schools analyzed from only 40 states, 32 Tennessee schools made bronze or better. Some East TN schools that made the grade include Gatlinburg, Halls, Oakdale, and Morristown. Missing from the list all together? Oak Ridge.

Turnover/Staff Morale Issues
During his interview process, Dr. Bailey bragged of the volume of teacher terminations he achieved in his previous school system. Since 2002, Bailey has replaced 10 head principals and at least 5 vice principals. Only 3 of those people retired, though the timing is questionable. We are on our 4th principal at the High School and 5 vice principals have or will be hired under Bailey’s term. Countless teachers and administrators have retired early or have been let go. The most recent loss is that of the alternative school principal – a man loudly praised by the board and administration for huge successes, not the least of which is the achievement of nearly 500 credits recovered by his students. Such a feat undoubtedly contributed to our increased graduation rate.

Questionable Fiscal ResponsibilityFor over a decade, Oak Ridge Schools have outspent every school system in TN (as well as the national average) at $11,794 per ADA – greatly exceeding the state average of $8,345.

Since Dr. Bailey came on board seven years ago, enrollment has declined slightly yet spending has increased by over 30%. He inherited a $39 million budget and by the end of 2008 was spending over $51 million NOTE: These figures do not include the cost of the high school which is funded almost entirely by the city budget.

Dr. Bailey negotiated for himself a raise for the 08/09 school year after having refused one to teachers and staff.

In 2006, the OR BOE approved the funding of a new vehicle (purchase price of $24K per car) for both the superintendent as well as one for the assistant superintendent. For that same year, they amended his contract to allow him to use this vehicle for both business and personal use and to pay for full insurance, maintenance, and repair costs from school funds.

Since joining ORS, Dr. Bailey has exceeded his travel expenses by over 50%. In 2007, he was approved to spend $7,000 but spent over $12,000. What’s worse is that he’d been granted a 50% increase over his predecessor. In his last year, Dr. McCoy had been approved $3,500 for travel. (see table below)

Every year, Dr. Bailey publicly laments about the need for additional funds from the city; however, the most recent audit of ORS financials stated that “Total governmental assets at year-end were 94.8 million and exceeded liabilities by 9.2 million” last year and that “at year-end, the Schools’ governmental funds reported combined ending fund balances of $3,361,956, of which $2,926,104 is available for spending at the Schools’ discretion.”

Questionable Judgment of ORS Leadership
Dr. Bailey is only one of five superintendents (out of all 135 in this state) who is NOT licensed. (see #5 in link)

The Oak Leaf scandal brought unwanted national, negative attention and is now listed on Wikipedia as one of the few highlights of about our high school.

Dr. Bailey advised the OR BOE in 2008 to eliminate transportation to students without consideration for the implications on their safety.

Dr. Bailey and the assistant superintendent successfully terminated and destroyed a teacher’s career after having granted that same teacher tenure.

Dr. Bailey overruled the committee he’d appointed to fill the high school football coach position when they recommended someone whom he did not approve of. Subsequently, he hired a man who, among other things, whipped out a knife in front of students and got into a scuffle with another coach at a football game. That coach was then removed and replaced yet again.

In 2007, Dr. Bailey hired Ken Green back into OR schools as the assistant superintendent. Mr. Green vacated his previous position as the OR High School principal for another job just two years prior. That same assistant superintendent doesn’t trust the school system he runs with his own children; instead, he has them home schooled.

Dr. Bailey recently hired a high school principal with only 5 years’ educational experience and NO managerial experience. While Mr. Goins may be entirely capable of such responsibilities, the risk of such a decision is compounded when one considers the results of Dr. Bailey’s first pick for the job in 2005. Of her, he said, “Mrs. Ervin was the overwhelming favorite of the committee. In fact it was the consensus of the committee that she has ‘the right stuff.'” He went on to say, “There is not a tougher job in the community than Oak Ridge High School principal. When it comes down to the bottom line, the buck stops at the principal’s desk.” Ms. Ervin was removed from her position less than a year after she was hired.

Trina Baughn

ORS Superintendent Travel Expenses

…………Approved/Audit (Actualized Expenses)
96/97 $2,000 / $2,713
97/98 $2,000 / $3,374
98/99 $2,000 / $3,561
99/00 $700 / $2,827
00/01 $3,500 / $3,510
01/02 $3,500 / $3,851
Bailey Years
02/03 $3,500 / $4,378
03/04 $3,500 / $4,687
04/05 $4,687 / $7,094
05/06 $4,500 / $6,897
06/07 $4,500 / $8,074
07/08 $7,000 / $12,171

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s