Dallas ISD Renews Flawed Superintendent's Contract, Perks But No Raise

Dallas ISD Renews Flawed Superintendent's Contract, Perks But No Raise

On July 22, the Dallas Independent School District (ISD) Board of Trustees voted 7-2 to renew the contract of school superintendent Mike Miles, who they flirted with firing a year ago and followed up with a failed vote last September. Miles was not axed, though, and despite a tempestuous year, the board re-upped him for two more years, threw in a few perks, but denied him a raise.

Miles was coming up on the last leg of a three year term. This contract will take him through July 2017. The Dallas Morning News reported that the negotiations took place in a marathon 10-plus hour meeting that ended just after four in the morning. His base salary will remain steady at $300,000. He wanted more.

NBC-5 reported that Miles wanted a $25,000 pay bump because “the Fort Worth superintendent before he left made $330,000.”

However, the new deal will allow him to earn up to $200,000 in bonuses annually on top of his salary for hitting certain academic and performance marks. The other perk is eight days a year of outside consulting time but it must be board approved and is contingent on using his vacation time, although the consultingincome must be donated to the district supported non-profit, Dallas Education Foundation, according to the Dallas Morning News article.

Not everyone on the board was onboard with the timing of the vote, however. Trustees Joyce Foreman and Bernadette Nutall voted against Miles’ deal, voicing their concerns “as did some other board members, that Miles was getting the new contract before he had gotten his annual evaluation next month,”the Dallas Morning News also noted.

Miles has wound up in several controversies during his tenure. In June, the district was embroiled in an athletic department recruiting scandal that ended with the firing of 15 employees. An investigation found that coaches and their assistants falsified the student residency documentation that allowed athletes to play on teams in the district, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Last year, the school board called for an independent investigation, that cleared Miles of wrongdoing in the handling of a service contract, but the review found Miles, who denied wrongdoing, had violated district policy by talking to witnesses during an initial probe, according to the Fort-Worth Star Telegram.

As recently as April, the district brought in “a consultant specializing in nonprofit governance, specifically on building an effective working relationship between CEOs and their boards, for a team-building exercise” to help ease tensions between Miles and the nine member school board, the Dallas Observer reported.

On top of all the administrative strife, the Dallas ISD community locked horns on the potential and ongoing  shift from being a traditional school district to home-rule charter governance, something that was introduced earlier this year in an attempt to affect positive change in the district.

The Dallas Observer took it one step further suggesting that the contentious home-rule battle may have boomeranged and strengthened Miles’ position. The brewing opposition to a shadowy Houston billionaire coming into bankroll the charter along with the ongoing, lengthy process to trigger home-rule may have overshadowed those internal issues. Miles and his Destination 2020 program were back in favor as the way to turn the district around.

According to Miles, Destination 2020 will prepare kids for the year 2020 or 2025 and beyond, and he said so in a well-produced district video promoting the program. In it, Dallas ISD principal Timothy Hise chirped out a bit of bureaucratic education-speak buzzwords when he described Destination 2020 as “ensuring our students, our community, is college and workforce ready so they can be positive contributors to our society.”

Coupled with the companion plan Imagine 2020, Destination 2020 is full of undefined education reformer phrases like student performance/achievement/outcome, college and career readiness, workforce readiness, teacher development, principal performance based on viable metrics of evaluation, teacher evaluations tied to tests, best practices, data, parent involvement, innovation and accountability.

Miles said he was pleased with his new deal. Dallas is the largest school district in North Texas and the 16th largest in the nation.

Follow Merrill Hope, an original member of the Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.