Digging Deep into the Data

As expected, the ORSB voted to extend Dr. Bailey’s contract this evening. We are now stuck with him through 2013. Before bestowing more glowing praise on the super and after thoroughly patting themselves on the back, the board had the administration provide a partial response to my letter. Unfortunately, as Mr. Green pretty much stated, the data is quite sophisticated and probably cannot be properly understood by the average citizen. I think I’ll give it a shot anyway.

1. The administration maintains that Dr. Bailey did not receive a salary increase for the 08/09 school year. Instead, they state that what appeared to be a salary increase was actually a manipulation of an annuity. School budget documents delineate the annuity in question into a separate line item (#72320 189 “Other Salaries & Wages”) from the salary line item which is #72320 101. The 2010 Proposed Budget clearly shows an annual increase in the salary line item each year as follows:
06/07 Audit $125,475 *
07/08 Audit $128,802
08/09 Approved $131,888
09/10 Proposed $133,866

* pulled from the 2009 Proposed Budget revised/updated 3/25/08

Looks like a raise to me, but they’ve always had a different way of doing math than the rest of the world.

2. The administration stated that no TN superintendent license exists; my point that Dr. Bailey was one of only 5 superintendents out of 135 in the state who is not a licenses educator was not refuted.

3. The administration demonstrated an increase in the ORS graduation rate. This does not conflict with my original contention that we failed the No Child Left Behind standard of 90% 2 years in a row, while 92% of Tennessee schools passed.

4. The administration alluded to the Newsweek rankings that Oak Ridge schools have completely off of this year. They offered no data to show that Oak Ridge schools are, in fact, on that list.

5. The administration itemized some (not all) of the principals who have been replaced by Dr. Bailey. They failed to provide the pertinent details such as how many were forced to resign (I’ve confirmed at least one) and how many resigned or retired early. Why did Hayes retire in the middle of a school year? Why would Carringer walk away when he was within inches of retirement?

6. The administration addressed only one of the 6 years of overspending that the superintendent’s travel line item reflects. Setting aside the one year they did explain, the overspending percentage is reduced from 56% to 50%. No explanation for why this occurred or how it was paid for was offered.

The administration neglected to mention the other 10 points that my letter discussed (US News & World Report rankings, enrollment decline, increased spending, vehicle purchase and allowance for unlimited personal use, excess year-end assets, the Oak Leaf scandal, the transportation cuts, the high school coach fiasco, the assistant superintendent who left our school system and then returned and chooses not to put his children in Oak Ridge schools, and the newly hired high school principal who has less experience than the majority of our system’s teachers and has NO managerial experience.)

I was pleasantly surprised that Mr. Eby chose to vote against the extension. I wasn’t surprised at the rest of the board’s votes but am very disappointed. I regret my votes in the last two elections for two of the current board members. I won’t make that mistake again.

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