Friday 19 December 2014

Businessman Questions Why Royal ISD Superintendent Allowed To Keep Job Without Proper Certification

A Waller County businessman is questioning the fitness of Royal ISD Superintendent Nathaniel Richardson to run the beleaguered school district and asking why school trustees have allowed him to remain on the job even after his failure to pass the state’s superintendent certification test despite seven attempts.

Local developer John Thuman said the school district’s poor reputation is hurting not only home sales, but economic growth in Brookshire and southern Waller County.

Thuman said Royal ISD schools are a major factor in the area’s inability to prosper despite adjacent high-growth areas such as Katy and Fulshear.

“Nobody wants to buy a home in Royal ISD because of the poor reputation of the district; businesses don’t want to come here for the same reason – their employees’ children would be stuck in a school district with one of the worst rating in the state,” Thuman said.

Royal ISD is one of only 30 school districts in the state to receive an “academically unacceptable” ranking from the Texas Education Agency. Academically unacceptable is the lowest ranking the TEA can assign a district.

Thuman said he is also puzzled why the school board continues to keep Richardson at the helm when “he’s clearly not qualified to make the changes needed in this district.”

“You have a school district that’s failing and the man in charge of turning it around can’t even pass the state superintendent’s test. Even through he’s obligated by his contract to have his superintendent’s certificate, he hasn’t passed the test and the school board hasn’t done anything about it,” Thuman said. “It makes no sense to see the Royal ISD schools going down the drain and the school board doing nothing about it. It’s like they’re more interested in protecting Richardson than in seeing we have decent schools for our kids.”

Thuman also said the school board recently voted to keep Richardson even after he offered to resign over his failure to pass the superintendent’s exam for a seventh time.

“In December, I was told that an agreement had been written up and signed by the board and the superintendent that he had one final chance to take the certification test and if he failed it for the seventh time he would then resign as superintendent.  Well, he failed it,” Thuman said. “On March 7, there was a board meeting and after discussion in executive session, a motion was made to accept the resignation of the superintendent and the motion failed by a vote of 4 to 3.”

Documents obtained from the Texas Education Agency confirmed Richardson’s repeated failure to pass the superintendent certification exam. Records show he tested at least seven times at Prairie View A&M University and failed on each occasion.

A copy of Richardson’s contract obtained by InstantNewsKaty confirmed he is required hold a superintendent’s certificate as a requirement of his employment.

Article 5 of Richardson’s contacts reads, “The superintendent shall furnish throughout the term of this contract a valid and appropriate certificate as defined in the Texas Education Code to act as superintendent in this state.”

Although he has not passed the test to receive the permanent’s superintendent certification, TEA records show Richardson does hold a one-year “probationary” certificate valid through Oct. 14 of this year.

Before that, Richardson held a non-renewable permit for superintendent that expired in October of last year. Such permits are typically issued by the TEA to give newly-appointed superintendents a period of time to obtain their permanent certificate.

Richardson is out of the office for spring break this week and could not be contacted for comment on this story.

Efforts to reach Royal ISD Board President Emily Hilsman have also been unsuccessful; however, e-mails obtained by InstantNewsKaty suggest at least one board member has become frustrated with Richardson’s inability to obtain his superintendent’s certification.

In an e-mail to Hilsman in October, Royal ISD Trustee Christopher Cardiff accused Richardson of “behind the scene dealings” with regard to the certificate.

“I think Mr. Richardson is up to behind the scene dealings regarding his superintendent certificate. He has been grated a probationary certificate that will expire in October 2011,” Cardiff wrote. “I understand he used the Superintendent’s Academy…to apply for the probationary certificate. Why would you need to do that if you passed the test?”

Cardiff also said Richardson previously “surprised” the board with the earlier non-renewable certificate.

Thuman said he hoped his questioning of the board’s actions and Richardson’s ability to lead the school district would spur change, not only in the superintendent’s office but also with a renewed effort to improve Royal ISD schools.

“The district is failing, the superintendent is failing and the school board is sitting idly by. That is a recipe for disaster,” he said. “Something has to be done to turn this ship around, and that responsibility is with the school board.”

Thuman also released an open letter to Royal ISD taxpayers entitled “A Failure of Leadership.” He sent copies to area media outlets, including InstantNewsKaty. That letter, unedited and in its entirety, is as follows:

“A few years ago we the taxpayers were told by the RISD Board of Trustees and a public committee that we, the taxpayers, needed to spend 63 million dollar in much needed improvements to the school district.  There were many meetings about this matter.  Costs were discussed. We were told to build today for tomorrow.  The demographic study ordered by the school district showed that growth in the area was at our doorstep.  We needed to build this now before it is too late.  We will be overrun with modular buildings and where will the children eat lunch. We were told that the community could afford this money with the growth in tax base that would result from this investment.  This issue was settled by the voters in a bond issue and it passed.

Shiny New Busses Do Not Equal Quality Education

Now here we are two years later.  We have remodeled or replaced all the schools in our district over the past seven years or so at tremendous cost to the limited and stagnant taxpayer base.  We have increased our seating capacity to hold effective class sizes.  We have a new bus barn with shiny new buses.  We built a new field house for the sports teams.  I drive by huge concrete parking lots with outdoor lighting and curbs, which I have never seen more than a quarter full on any normal school day.  Tennis courts and baseball fields have been built.  We have purchased computers and new signs.  We have some of the newest and modern facilities in the area.  We have remodeled the school in Pattison as administration offices.   For the taxpayers’ investment in facilities of 70 million dollars over the past few years we have achieved failure. We have a modern failing school district.  Royal Independent School District is rated as academically unacceptable overall by the TEA.  This rating was achieved by only 30 districts in the state.

Highest Taxes = Lowest Scores

Adding further to the situation is the fact that Royal Independent School District has the highest tax rate of any school district contiguous to Royal school district.  We are paying the most in education dollars and getting an unacceptable result in comparison to all the other districts that neighbor Royal ISD.

New Buildings Do Not Equal Academic Achievement

The leadership of the school district has decided to mothball the middle school campus, which over the summer had major renovations such as new air conditioning installed, as it will not be needed due to low enrollment.  Only about 65% of the total available student capacity of all the campuses combined is currently being utilized.  Was the building spree really needed? We have an overpriced and unacceptable modern school district that no one wants to attend.

Super Shows the Way

This situation as described above is based on the facts as I have ascertained them to be and has led me to ask some questions.  Upon asking questions in the prescribed manner I am not surprised that the district finds itself in such a situation.  I would like to remind the reader that we the taxpayers are part of the school district.  The leadership of the school district has failed to provide to the community an acceptable educational system through many decisions including the selection of the superintendent of the district.  The current superintendent of the district is serving as the day to day operational leader of the district under a probationary permit as issued by the Texas Education Agency, the government body that is responsible for public schools in Texas.  This permit allows him to serve in the capacity of superintendent for up to 2 years while completing and passing the required testing.  He has taken the test according to Texas Education Agency records a total of 6 times and has failed to pass the required certification test.  This is after taking a class to prepare for the test and failing the test again.  This statement is based on information I obtained under a Public Information Request to TEA and was obtained about 2 months ago.  It is possible that the certification situation has changed.  The unacceptable rating was according to the superintendent a clerical error. The total number of students that graduated was not properly put in to the system  thus the school district did not met the graduation standard that is required to have an acceptable rating.  The Texas Education Agency did not see it that way and denied the appeal that was submitted by the district to the rating.  Thus the question becomes if the superintendent was certified would this mistake had been cured before submission to the state because of an understanding of the duties and responsibilities of the superintendent. The Board of Trustees is not holding the superintendent to the same standard that the students he is responsible for teaching, the passing of a competency test.   An unacceptable school district rating is a deal killer in community development and takes years to overcome.

Who are the Losers?

For a moment let us take a look at what this means for our community. It means our children are less prepared for life than a child from a school district with a better rating.  Parents wanting the best for their children will want the best education for their child possible.  If a parent can live 4 miles down the road and be in a better rated school district, parents will chose the better school if possible.  This decreases the desirability thus the value of all properties in the district across the board.  This affects every property owner.  Home values will appreciate at a lesser rate than otherwise.  Residential construction of an appreciable scale will not happen keeping the expansion of the tax base further depressed.  Businesses, which contribute a large portion of tax revenues to school districts but use the least amount of services offered by the district, will not open shop in a community that lacks a qualified workforce.  A reduction in businesses means fewer convenient services.  Lesser services equals less desirability, etc.,etc…  The net result is no expansion of the value of the tax base and no new investment in the tax base.  The result of all of this is a higher tax rate to the citizen and longer to pay it off. Additionally more funding to hire competent teachers is decreased, which contributes to the downward spiral.  This continuing stigma of an unacceptable school district is a lode stone around the neck of the economy of this community.

In the past the school district has had ratings of academically acceptable and higher ratings. There was no new school building or field house or even shiny new buses.  We had leadership.  I call upon the Royal Independent School District Board of Trustees to meet the responsibilities that the taxpayers entrusted them with at the polls by taking a true leadership role and leading our way out of this debacle.  Hire appropriate people if the skills are not presently in house to have an academically acceptable school district. The status quo does not work. This much is proven by the rating. 

 - John Thuman”

36 Comments

  1. Mikel says:

    I read recently that Ms. Hilsman, the school board president, was asked if she had read Mr. Thuman’s letter in the paper last week and she said she didn’t have the time because she had been busy with her business. This is totally unacceptable. If you’re the president of RISD this should be your first priority. If your business is more important then you shouldn’t be the president. Most of these board members have been on this board since I’ve been here and that’s 16 years. It’s time for a change in the thought process out here. Years ago there was a glimmer of hope in that we had a good superintendent named Tom Tasma. But after the board ran him off it’s been disaster after disaster. And now we have a super. that can’t pass the necessary tests to be the leader. How does that look to the teachers and students. Politics should not be in this decision. If he can’t pass the test then get rid of him. End of discussion. Mr. Thuman is 100% correct. Nathaniel Richardson is bad for business and these board members should be held accountible.

    • Sandy says:

      Just one comment…Tom Tasma was NOT “ran off”!

      The most important thing in all of this are the children. Our district needs a fresh start and our children DESERVE only the best!!

      Thank you……

      • CommonSense says:

        CommonSense says apparently the children have the best in facilities. It is now up to the board to have the best administration in order to maximize the use of the excellent and modern facilities that the tax payers voted in. The current board obviously wants to have shiny new buses but does not want an administration that will guide the school to minimally an acceptable school district that will result in an expansion of the tax base to pay for all the newness. This board and superintendent have only one goal, keep the status quo intact at the expense of the tax payer keeping the tax payer in servitude to high tax rates for years to come. Once agin keep it crappy and no one will move here thus their fiefdom will remain intact and their egos will be stroked. If Eygpt can throw out their leader we should be able to fix a school district.

    • luvbugg79 says:

      the school has gone to crap, i had to move, quit my job and uproot my family because of this school, i pray they get their stuff together quick!!

  2. CommonSense says:

    CommonSense says that a leader must have the qualifications to lead. If this individual is not qualified then why is he “leading”? This must be very detrimental to the morale of the district staff and to the student body. Staff will not want to be lead by an uqualified leader that tarnishes their professional reputation and students will think if the leader is not accountable then why should we be. I predict this will further damage the school district through failing TAKS test scores and qualified teachers fleeing the sinking ship. How long will the board of trustees allow this to occur. Obviously through their actions they beleive that they are not accouintable for their actions and could care less about the damage they are doing to a whole community of citizens.

  3. Mary McGarr says:

    You are not alone in the predicament with your superintendent. The current Katy ISD superintendent was hired having only a temporary certificate.

    He operated in the State of Texas (two years in DeSoto ISD, one year in Katy ISD) on that temporary certificate. He finally passed the test a year into his tenure. We’ve never checked to see if he just couldn’t pass it or if he just didn’t get around to taking it. Either case, in my opinion, is not good.

    Mr. Frailey doesn’t even have an educational doctorate. How hard is it to get one of those? How hard can the superintendent’s test be?

    It’s an outrage, in my opinion, that what appear to be mindless simpletons who get themselves elected to local school boards can’t find a worthy person to hire for all those big bucks that they are paying. People with educational doctorates and viable certificates are a dime a dozen. Surely Royal and Katy could find one of them.

  4. ciri93 says:

    Ms. McGarr,
    Your last two paragraphs are unbelievably ignorant. Do you have a doctorate in education? I’m sure the answer is no, otherwise you would know the level of commitment involved in obtaining one. As for these people being a dime dozen, that would be wrong as well. How can you possibly want someone to take you seriously with uninformed comments such as these.

    • westsidebill says:

      ciri:

      You know not who you’re messing with – best to apologize and move on. Perhaps you should just apologize and move on…..

      • ciri93 says:

        Bill, neither you nor Ms. McGarr should hold your breath waiting for an apology. I don’t really care who I’m messing with, really, but I appreciate your concern for my well being. *Winks*

        • westsidebill says:

          If you’re concerned about your well-being, then I assume you’re closely correlated with Superintendent Rihcardson. At least, according to lifelong (and almost lifelong) residents I’ve spoken to the last yera and a half anyway. Since I’m not a taxpayer in your district, it’s completely up to the voting public. If you’ve followed my posting in Katy (which is mundane to the average online reader), I complain about everything – even in the “BEST DISTRICT IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD” = where I’ve had 2 graduates and one soon-to-be grad in June. Just to let you know where I’m coming from…..

          Mary is one of the utmost people I respect in the education field. She rarely speaks out of context and if she’d interested in your district, I’d at least take what she writes with a modicum of respect and check it out for yourself if you don’t believe her. You may not agree, but she’s not known for going for the popular opinion necesarily……

          Best of luck in Royal – it only helps the entire area’s education reputation if all the local districts are considered “strong”….

          • ciri93 says:

            Bill,
            I live in Katy. I wasn’t serious when I was speaking about my well being, really, it has nothing to do with Royal.

            I’ve read Mary’s bio. You can call her an educator, but she hasn’t been in the classroom since 1973, a lot has changed since then. As far as I’m concerned she is way over the top (as are the other watchdogs) with her opinions, but they are her’s and she’s entitled to them. In fact I can’t recall one positive comment from her in any forum. I believe I’ve even read a post by you where you asked her why she was being so negative.

            Finally, as an educator I agree with you that every school being strong is a good thing, especially for the children. I could care less about a businessman who is upset because his over-priced homes and lots aren’t selling. And they say it’s all about the children.

    • Mary McGarr says:

      You take issue with my questioning a superintendent who accepted a quarter of a million dollar salary when he didn’t have even an educational doctorate or a superintendent’s certificate. You suggest that getting those is not that easy. I completely disagree.

      Please look at the curriculum for an educational doctorate from a prominent Texas teacher’s college (copied from the web site of Lamar University). Your suggestion that this degree is “difficult” tells me something about the “ignorance” level of YOUR statements.

      I think the requirements for this degree look pretty much like 60 hours of brain-washing in liberal drivel. There’s absolutely nothing academic OR difficult about this course work.

      From Lamar University College of Education:
      Ed.D. Program Requirements

      The Ed.D. requires the completion of a minimum of 60 semester hours: 21 hours core,
      15 hours in selected concentration/electives, 12 hours in research, and 12 hours of dissertation.

      I. Core Courses 21 hrs

      Teaching/Learning Theories and Practice (3 hrs)
      Professional Ethics and Values (3 hrs)
      Cultural Influences (3 hrs)
      Organizational Change (3 hrs)
      Directed Action Research I: Intership [sic](3 hrs)
      Dynamics of Leadership (3 hrs)
      Academic Writing (3 hrs)

      II. Concentration/Elective Courses 15 hrs
      Effective Staff Development in the Learning Community (3 hrs)
      Effective Schools Internship II (3 hrs)
      Educational Politics, Policy, School Law (3 hrs)
      Seminar in Special Topics (3 hrs)
      Adult Learners in Special Topics (3 hrs)
      Contemporary Issues (3 hrs)
      Multiculturalism Education and School Reform (3 hrs)
      Leadership in Higher Education (3 hrs)
      Communication in a Global Society (3 hrs)
      Diversity and Learning Issues (3 hrs)
      Trends and Issues in Multicultural Education (3 hrs)
      *Additional courses in concentration/statistics may be required by program advisor

      *Other courses available as approved

      III. Research Core 12 hrs
      Applied Research for the Scholar/Practitioner (3 hrs)
      Quantitative Research Design & Analysis (3 hrs)
      Qualitative Reserach Design & Analysis (3 hrs)
      Research Synthesis/Seminar (3 hrs)
      IV. Dissertation I, II, III, IV 12 hrs

      Total 60 hrs

      • CommonSense says:

        Commonsense says it is refreshing to see some one respond using facts and accurate information not supposition and opinion.

      • ciri93 says:

        Liberal brainwashing? Please don’t make me laugh. What isn’t liberal to you and your disgruntled tea party comrades? Any thinking outside of your thought process is of course “not worthy”. That is completely like you ultra-close minded types to label things you hate and/or can’t comprehend. I think you would have had a problem with the light bulb when Edison invented it. You would have considered it to be “liberal”. What people like you really want is control. Control over everyone’s behaviors and thoughts. If someone disagrees with you they are most certainly inferior in their thinking to yours, right?

        I appreciate your research into the doctorate of education curriculum, although I’m not sure cutting and pasting qualifies (that was for you common sense) as true research of any kind. Just an FYI, most doctoral programs require the completion of credit hours in the 90′s for the degree, unless the doctoral candidate previously received a master’s degree in the same area of expertise. The credit hours you quoted are WITH the master’s degree. If you look at that website again you’ll see it mentioned, unless of course you meant to leave that fact out of your post. 90 to 100 hours of course work past the undergraduate degree is quite an undertaking, requiring 4 to 6 years to complete with a full time course load. It is interesting, but not surprising, that you believe that to be easy. Maybe it’s the fact that you haven’t held a paying job since the early 70′s or stopped your education at the undergraduate level that drives you to that belief. Another possibility is that your belief suits your agenda, right?

        • Mary McGarr says:

          Obviously one has to make up for not having a Masters in Education if one does not have one and wishes to get an EdD.
          I don’t think you needed to spend time explaining that to us.

          But looking at a Masters in Education program, I’m still not seeing anything very difficult there either. Nothing academic in any of this. I could have pasted up other Masters programs, but they’re pretty much the same. We all know you think it’s hard. You should know by now that I don’t.

          School Administration M.Ed. with Principal Certification

          The Master’s degree in Educational Administration requires successful completion of a 36 hour program of study. Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree and valid Teaching Certificate. One year of teaching experience is required.

          Please Note: Students already holding a master’s degree may apply for admission to pursue a M.Ed. in School Administration or “Certification Only”. A meeting with an advisor is required.

          Course Descriptions

          Degree Requirements:

          I. Common Administrative Core

          EDLD 5301 Research Methods
          EDLD 5311 Fundamentals of Administration *(Fundamentals of Leadership)
          EDLD 5339 Organizational Behavior*
          *Prerequisite to courses in section II except EDLD 5306

          II. Teaching and Learning

          EDLD 5352 Instructional Leadership
          **Prerequisite for EDLD 5356
          EDLD 5356 Educator Evaluation or Elective (Select One)
          * CNDV 5320 Cross Cultural Counseling
          * CNDV 5310 Individual/Group Facilitation
          EDLD 5333 Campus Planning and Problem Solving (Leadership for Accountability)
          EDLD 5335 Curriculum Management

          III. Specialization Preparation

          EDLD 5306 Foundations of Educational Technology
          (Students must complete EDLD 5311 prior to the following courses.)
          EDLD 5326 Communication and Public Relations
          EDLD 5344 School Law
          EDLD 5345 Personnel Administration (Human Resource Development)

          IV. INTERNSHIP

          EDLD 5398 Internship for School Principal

          Total for Master’s Degree : 36 Hours

          • ciri93 says:

            Mary,
            Hard is a relative term. Maybe you should think of it this way. An extremely bright person might not think of all 96 hours of school work as “hard”, but instead as tedious. Someone not as gifted might think of the drudgery as both hard and tedious. Either way, the under-taking is about discipline and desire. How many people have the discipline to put themselves through a doctorate program at a cost that is both mental and financially taxing? There has to be quite a bit of desire to achieve for someone to put themselves through those years of long days and late nights.

            What bothers me is that you, because of your desire to make everything KISD look bad, don’t even have the common courtesy to acknowledge the true accomplishment that obtaining a doctorate degree is. Statistics show that only 1% of the U.S. population has a doctorate degree. So much for “dime a dozen”. I have provided a link from the 2000 U.S. census below.

            http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/c2kbr-24.pdf

          • Mary McGarr says:

            CIRI93,

            Are you telling me that you think Alton Frailey does not have the “discipline or desire” to get a doctorate? I think that’s sort of what I was saying.

            Just for the record, I have great respect for those with a Ph.D. –especially those in an academic subject.

            I’m sorry that you cannot see the difference.

            Also, there’s one other item for which you criticized me–it is correct that I have not taught since 1973, except to substitute when I wanted to find out about things in the schools (Katy and Cy Fair), but there’s a reason. I don’t need to work.

            I don’t think you get to criticize people for that!

  5. CommonSense says:

    CommonSense says that these Board of “Trustees” are not to be trusted. They have hidden agendas, inside deals and the tax payers foot the bill. The changes in the middle east were brought about by protests and demonstrations. May be it is time for some of that in Royal ISD.

    • mommabear says:

      please take advantage of your open records options and see which board members have voted for or against certain “issues”. Some board members vote based on facts and documented data and not on friendship or any other reason that cannot be found to be factual. They have the courage to look for what is best for the students and the staff and they have the courage to take a stand that may not be popular with others.

  6. CommonSense says:

    ciri93…you are obviously the uninformed one. It is the “overpriced homes and lots” that pay the taxes that pay the bills for your over rated crime ridden school district. It is idiots like you that perpetrate the status quo of high taxes on the back of the tax payer so you can have temples to your egos and the latest foible of education. You sicken me with you ego centric attitude. My family is in education and have the sense not to teach at public schools which are merely warehouses for children so that when they go to college they can study remedial classes so as to be up to speed for a real education. Your narrow mindness is amazing. But then you are in a district that has a wide, deep and growing tax base so I guess I should not blame you for your narrow pathetic little mind.

    • ciri93 says:

      So CS, that’s your answer to everything–to call me an “idiot”? Nice, but typical of those who have no answers and only wish to spew their venom at those who might oppose their views. Since you “failed” to read my post(s) correctly (as did Bill), I’ll do my best to make what I wrote clear to you. I am NOT a taxpayer in Royal ISD. I never have been. I reside in and pay taxes to KISD. I hope that is clear for you, Bill and all your brethren who post after you.

      You know so much about public schools, but yet you’re smart enough not to “teach” in them? Huh? How contrite. How would you know any about the daily issues within a school or district if you are not there each and every day? You sound like someone who would send their children to and work at a place like West Houston Charter School (or whatever it is called now) and other “institutions” of “education” like it. I love your broad assumption (remember what happens when you ass/u/me something) that all children from public schools take remedial classes in college. The data would show otherwise, but then again what use would you have with the facts?

      Should we have the conversation about the large difference between public and private schools and the difference in state rules they each must follow? Should we have the conversation that public schools must education everyone, but private schools can pick and choose their clientele? Yes, let’s not educate all children. Let’s exclude special needs children and behavioral problem students. Then, let’s build more prisons, because we will need them.

      From what I’ve read Royal ISD is unacceptable and not acceptable, as a district, for the same reason KISD is recognized and not exemplary—PEIMS coding errors. The state will not change a district’s status because of coding errors. However, once again, facts get in the way of your diatribe.

      As for my “ego centric attitude” I’m not sure what you mean. Do I have an ego because I challenge ignorant posts such as Mary’s and yours? I guess I have an ego then. I know there will be more of you that will try and shout me down with numerous posters, I’ve seen it before. I’ve also read enough of your posts, on sites such as this, to know you have an agenda and axe to grind. Grind away, but I’m not the narrow-minded one in this conversation. It’s too bad common sense isn’t really all that common.

      • CommonSense says:

        The point of the whole conversation that the businessman is making is that the tax rate of RISD is the highest in the area with the lowest rating and performance. Look at the numbers in a comparative analysis and you will see if you can take off the blinders. The board of trustees is apparently not willing or unable to make a basic change of having a qualified leader for the failing district. Yes his point is about money. Most districts want to have residential properties developed so as to expand the tax base and fill the schools.

        How many colleges have you worked at? Have you ever worked for a private school or even attended one? On what do you base your assumptions? Show me or refer me to the data that says remedial classes are not needed in colleges. I guess you would believe that all private schools should be shuttered and all children should and must be indoctrinated to the ways of the state. No freedom of choice for the individual parent as to how their children are educated.

        I do believe that my educational level and experience would afford me the privilige of teaching in a public school by passing the certification test that is required; but I choose not to. I have served in the past in a volunteer basis in schools and other institutions in a teaching capacity.

        My axe as you call it is this. I am a resident of RISD, my children went there and I am a taxpayer. I want to live in a community that is vibrant, supports home values, is a desirable place to live and can provide a future to the collective individuals that make up the community. That is old and young, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, sick and the healthy. All the diverse strata that make a community what it is. I am sure you will be offended by some special interest group that you feel I have left out so go ahead and be offended. I could really care less about what you think feel or where you live. You will be right and all others that disagree with you will be wrong. That is what I mean by ego centirc.

        In your infinite wisdom that you have acquired over your long and diverse life experience what would you suggest as a solution not only for RISD situation but for the public educational system at large?

        Please maintain your sanctimonous attitude about your correctness because reality would proably scare you.

  7. Mary McGarr says:

    Ah, it’s nice to have friends, even if I don’t know your names! Thanks for understanding that one has to be pointed and severe (and unpopular) when the opposition is so out of whack.

    • ciri93 says:

      Out of whack, Mary? Come on, you’ve brought nothing to the table. Calling people names is not pointed or severe, it’s ignorant. Someone your age should know better. I guess your motto is, “If you can’t be someone with your intellect, beat them down”, right?

      I guess you’ve decided it’s best not to address my post to you or the issues I brought up in my conversation with Bill, huh? You don’t have to prove anything that way, right? Once again people like you throw out your negativism, but never provide any answers to change those things you hate so much.

      • CommonSense says:

        Okay Suggestions for RISD

        1. Fire the unqualified superintendent.
        2. Recall the Board of Trustees based on fudiciary irresponsibility.
        3. Fire teachers that are unable to teach children enough to pass the TAKS test
        4. No promotion to advance grade with out passing competency test.
        5. Reduce spending with in the district so as not to heap more taxation on the property owners.
        6. Promote the strengths of the district; FFA, technology center to name just a few that come to mind
        7. Involve community in the decision making process, they might have something to offer.
        8. Announce to the world that these changes are being made by inviting the media to a news conference.
        9. Acknowledge the failures of the past.

        These have been suggest to the board before and have been ignored; hence the problem.

        What you got as a suggestion?

        • ciri93 says:

          CS, I will sit down and give you my opinion on each of your points. I have friends who live in your area and do have some information regarding Royal’s issues. Please give me a little time so my responses are articulate.

          Also, I have worked at universities and private institutions, but I’ve also worked in public schools. I’ve seen both sides of the street. I do not drink the kool aid or wear blinders. I am not political in any way shape or form, I only care about the kids. You can choose whether or not to believe me, that is your choice. What I promise to give you is straight answers.

        • ciri93 says:

          1. Why fire him in the middle of a state and local budget crisis? Not a good time to change leadership. Someone would have to learn very quickly the district’s issues and needs. Does certification mean a better leader? I don’t necessarily think so. Some people are not good test takers; we have many students who struggle because of that. If my friends in RISD are correct this superintendent was the same person who had an exemplary high school as the leader of that school. Is it the superintendent or some of the board members who are the problem? If I were a community member I would find out.
          2. From what I’ve heard RISD actually spends less on instruction, percentage wise, than other districts around the area and state. According to my friends, the RISD board of trustees has actually been very frugal in regard to spending monies and has a large reserve fund because of this. Perhaps the board has not spent enough? A big problem, as I understand it, may be a nepotism issue with a school board member.
          3. Rather than fire teachers, why not re-train them in both content and instructional practices. Districts invest monies in teachers from the start. It would be wasted money if an attempt at this remedy is not tried first. I personally think the TAKS test is a travesty (just like NCLB) and only serves to fill the pockets of publishing and testing companies. Value-added programs, for performance pay, are based on poorly written formulas and do nothing to improve student academic performance. You can’t run schools using a business strategy.
          4. You only hurt children when this is done. Some students have different ability levels than other students at the same age. Is a child getting a 50% score, and failing the TAKS test, any different than a child who gets a 55% and passes in the overall scheme of things? Many student’s academic performance will improve with age and maturity. The TAKS test was meant to be and should be only a benchmark, not an end all. Once again this is all about the politicos and not about children.
          5. Many districts are already at skeleton levels with budgets. My understanding is that all Royal campuses had a 10% budget reduction for the 2010-11 budget year. A school cannot run without teachers. With instruction being at least 75% to 88% of a districts budget, I don’t know how you cut much more without affecting learning. With the state budget fiasco, I’m sure more cuts are coming for all districts. I do know that Waller County raised their tax assessment last year as well, which added to the taxation issue.
          6. Yes, always tout the best things about a district. The RISD FFA program is well known around the area.
          7. One of my Royal friends tells me that there have been forums held around the district, called Falcon Forums, but few attend. I’ve just looked at the RISD AEIS report on their website. If I’m reading it right there is a 65% plus Hispanic population in the district now. There could be a language barrier, which would affect community input for the district.
          8. Communication with the media is always essential for a district. Unfortunately, this news article will not help. Also, not helping in the past (and currently) is the city of Brookshire’s ongoing crime, city council and other numerous scandalous issues. People hesitate to move to a place where the people in power have gone to jail for white collar crimes.
          9. I think a district acknowledging past faux pas would be a great start to public perception problems. If RISD doesn’t have a PR or communications spokesperson they sure need one.

          • CommonSense says:

            Rebuttal

            1. Why fire him???? He has divided the community in his actions and his words. If the district truly wants to improve then the board needs to demonstrate it. I have been told by a board member that his level of comprehension and wrting skills are minimal. He has had a disasterous effect on the morale of the district staff by his actions and words as reported to me by numerous individuals that work for the school. It is my understanding that his resignation was refused by the board even after there was a signed agreement between the board and him if he failed for a seventh time he would resign. The board are not people of their word and have little or no personal integrity. As far as the exemplary status is concerned I credit Mr. Tasma with that not Richardson. Through the excellence of leadership that Tasma applied the rating was achieved. Tasma and Richardson were constantly at odds over firing and hiring issues as well as cirriculum. Richardson viewed Tasma as a threat to the staus quo, which he was as shown by the exemplary rating.

            2. I have not looked in particular at the financial statements( I do have copies of the most current ones along with proposed budgets) and analyzed for percentages of expenditures. I will not comment on supposition of fact. The heart of the problem is the 1.63 per hundred tax rate more than any other area district; this is a matter of fact. Given that there are no current residential subdivisions with in the district boundaries that have approved plats filed with the county this high tax rate will continue for years.
            The board pushed for a 63 million dollard bond for schools none wants to attend. That does not seem to met my definition of frugal. Only 65% of the seats are filled. I think they have spent plenty of money; maybe in the wrong places(kinda my point)

            3. I agree with you as to the uselessness of the TAKS as a measuring stick for the performance of teacher and student but it is the only one that is currently in place as mandated by the state which controls public education. Live by the sword and die by the sword.

            4. Same as 3. I do not make up the rules only try to interpert them and live by them.

            5. Same as 2. How many new trucks and busses do they need? Why are the janitorial services contracted out instead of in house? There are ways to further cut with out laying off teachers.

            6. As a district this has never been done. It has been suggest to the board on numerous occasions to create an advisory board of business owners and citizens to promote the district. There are limited things that the district can spend tax dollars on to promote the district by law. There are people and businesses in the community that would welcome the opportuniy to participate in the improvement of the district but that is consistently resisted by the board. Please see 7 for more edification

            7. The board for years has resisted this as they know better then all. After all they are the board members we are not. They isolate themselves and only give lip service to these forums you speak of. The reason none attend is because their points of view are ignored by the board and nothing happens.

            8 & 9 If there is a PR person I have never seen a statement or heard a statement by this person in that capacity. There is no one speaking on behalf of the district as a result of this and other articles. The President of the Board is to busy to read the letter or respond to the media. They have done nothing wrong and will continue on the path they are on; they know better.

            Just for your edification Royal is NOT in Brookshire. It is in Pattison.

            As a citizen of this RISD district I applaud any one and every one that shines a light on this situation as the board has been given many opportunities to correct the path the ship is sailing on and have overtly and covertly refused to do such. Some times in order to repair the house you must tear it down first.

            “A big problem, as I understand it, may be a nepotism issue with a school board member.” You said it not me. This is in my opinion enough grounds to recall the board.

          • mommabear says:

            I agree with Sandy – Tom Tasma was not run off – he CHOSE to go to Channelview in light of better pay in preparation for his retirement – great move on his part.
            IN RESPONSE TO “common sense” and”ciri93″- I know the board member to whom you are referring to as having a “nepotism issue” and I know the spouse. I would like to know if you have the courage to speak to me about exactly what issues you are referring to?
            Also, as far as the AU rating, please remember that it is due to the clerical mistake on the campus and lack of response by the principal of the school when he was notified of potential dropouts and these codings are signed off by the superintendent, who is ultimately responsible for the rating.
            My view of your “suggestions for RISD” –
            1. I do not like the harsh term – “fire” – but finding another person who is more capable of leading a district should not be too difficult to find – one who does not have a history of “friendship” or “favoritism” with staff in the district – one who is objective and subjective.
            2.Recall the board based on “fudiciary irresponsibility” – first of all, spell it correctly – then – what does that mean exactly? The board is not a cookie cutter board – look at the minutes of meetings – they do not always vote unanimously – there ARE cases of disagreement.
            3. Teachers who have a track record of low student performance do need to be relieved of their duties, but some responsibility needs to be placed back on to the parent – if a student or campus does not have the backing of the parent even in the most basic of needs, then the school cannot expect to be successful. As for the TAKS test – it is changing to the STAAR and even with these last couple of years, it has looked at vertical scores and not horizontal scores, so it is more individualized and looks at student growth as compared to oneself and not necessarily growth as compared to others.
            4. There are grade placement committees who look at student performance and make the decision to promote or retain a student. The TAKS test is a measure that is looked at, but grades also play a part.
            5. How do you know spending is not being seriously looked at? One of you said maybe the district is not spending enough…look at the big picture….where are they spending funds and where can spending be cut based on integration of programs or in house services?
            6. FFA program is great!! To what technology program are you referring?
            7. It is my understanding that districts and campuses are required to have community members on the district and campus committees – let people call the schools to let them know they are interested in serving. Also, just because a district has a large Hispanic population does not mean language is a barrier – not all Hispanic students have a language barrier – look at the LEP population in comparison to the Hispanic population on the AEIS report.
            8. Media involvement is important – but it needs to be more positive and not just focus on the negative. Very true comment about the scandalous events in the area over the past several years.
            9. What specific past failures?

  8. luvbugg79 says:

    this is allll too much, so many people are comments on the school side but has n e one talk to the parents of the children that go to this school!! so many parents dont know their rights and maybe if they did some things would change, but then again when we speak no one listens!! so we get tired of talking to air!! THE ONLY PEOPLE THAT ARE GETTING HURT IN ALL OF THIS IS THE CHILDREN!!

  9. CommonSense says:

    CommonSense says to mommabear that I have no idea what nepotism the writer ciri93 was referring to. I was merely saying that if that is a driving force of the decision making process then that person should be removed from the board.

    As you said it is ultimately the responsibility of the superintendent to “sign off” on the data. Did he do his job of peer review before “signing off”?

    I am aware of some members of the board who are not yes men. Those people need to be more vocal and speak out when they disagree. I think they would be amazed at the support they would receive, which is demonstrated by this lively thread that has been created by one individual asking a few simple questions.

    This writer has never seen a public statement by an individual member speaking either negatively or positively about any issue. The board seems to hide behind it’s cloak of authority and leaves many things unanswered.

    Specific failures: Handling of violent assault on district property late last year. Unacceptable ratings. Violation of state laws relating to operations of transportation services. Highest tax rate in area. Turn over rate of superintendents. Expensive service contracts that could be handled in house. Turn over in cirriculum. I can supply more if you really want me to.

    This writer has on more than one occasion offered management expertise in an advisory role and has been rejected by no response. But then I am NOT a yes man.

    The harsh term “fired” as you called it is appropriate from my point of view as the mismanagement by the super has caused a very harsh situation for the tax payer; a high tax rate for years with no end in sight.

    I was told by a previous super that we had such a good tech program that other schools bussed children to our district to utilize our center. Was I mislead in this statement?

    The issue of this district is not going away any time soon. The district is one of the biggest employeers in the southern part of the county and should be the hub of commerce, tax base and growth as demonstrated by the desire of the board to structure a bond proposal to spend 63 million dollars. By pushing for this building spree the board was saying that they supported growth. After spending the money they seem not to support growth thus sticking it to the tax payer with a temple to their collective egos. Values, stagnant or going down, and tax rates, going up, are on divergent paths which is not a good thing for the short and long term economic viability of the community. I know some will not like this news but that is the market reality. This is the problem created by building the HS and not having a plan to fill it.

  10. Pattison Resident and Parent says:

    Common Sense has the best suggestions. This school is totally unacceptable, I can personally speak from experience that the kids are not their first priority. The students are not supervised properly and things are covered up and hidden. When I heard that the Superintendent was being paid 250,000 and can’t even meet certification I about fell over. Who is responsible for that???? Leadership must change and not just Richardson!!! The list is long.

  11. Just Wondering2 says:

    In order for Alton to only cost KISD $250K he would have to take a massive pay cut.

    It is amazing how much we pay this guy in salary, free insurances, expense account, security detail, 403b (He puts in nothing, we put in $22,500 / year.), travel, etc.

    Use this link and see what a great job he is doing in the eyes of the BOT.

    http://www.katyisd.org/scd/Contract.pdf

    Yet another reason to vote “NO” to Chris and Judith in May. If you want responsible people leading us then vote “YES” for Henry and Bill.

  12. Just Wondering2 says:

    ciri 93

    You are correct earning a PhD is an accomplishment. You might be surprised to learn how many teachers and principals we have in Katy ISD who hold them. It might also surprise you to learn how many of them ALSO have a superintendent’s license or are working on them. They do this while working full time and earning only a fraction of Alton’s salary.

    Given how generous our BOT is with Alton, I doubt his request for free tuition would be rejected should he in fact wish to EARN the degree.

    Mary must feel the more degrees and certifications you have the better prepared you are to do the work at hand. While I can’t disagree with that notion; I also believe others can and do perform at a high level without them.

    However we are talking about Katy ISD which pays one of the top salaries in the state and country for this job. I have not looked at the census data from ten years ago, but if 1% of the population had such a degree that would mean there were over 3,000,000 PhD running around, even more when Alton was hired and still we could not find one.

    The truth is having a degree or certification was NEVER high on our board of trustees list of qualifications. We got Alton because he knew Joe Adams a long time BOT member and it snowballed from there. As long as Joe liked him they would have hired Alton with only a certification in auto repair 101.

  13. ciri93 says:

    Mary,
    No way am I saying that about Alton Frailey. Don put words in my mouth. I don’t know him so I have no idea what his reasoning is.

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