DISD update: Dallas financial bigwigs to the rescue

DISD hopes its "kitchen cabinet" of Dallas financial superstars will help it gain back credibility lost during the ongoing budget problem, as it invites a few of the city’s top financial names — retired banker Ron Steinhart, Texas Instruments senior vice president Phil Ritter, former city manager John Ware and Woodbine Development president John Scovell — to "review Dallas ISD finances and provide strategic advice", according to the DMN.

Clearly, reading between the lines of this story, those of you interested in seeing DISD Supt. Michael Hinojosa strung up can forget it for now — these guys are among the city’s major powerbrokers, and if they’re signing on to "review" what’s happening at DISD, that means they’re tacitly endorsing Hinojosa, for now. The Morning News story also quotes Don Williams, co-chairman of the now-infamous Dallas Achieves group and former Trammell Crow chief, as saying that Hinojosa "should be given another chance. If we terminate Michael now … with the whole politicized process and everything that’s entailed in that, I think you set the whole process back years and years."

I agree with the big guys this time: Firing Hinojosa now would do nothing but make people feel like they’ve received a measure of revenge for the bad things about to happen, what with 1,000 DISD employees to be laid off during the next two weeks. And I still like the idea of splitting the superintendent’s job into two pieces — hire an academic superintendent, such as Hinojosa, and a financial superintendent (if anyone out there is willing to take the job) — and make both positions independent and both accountable to the school board.

Meanwhile, the next couple of days will be the quiet before the storm for those of you following the DISD travails. Teacher layoffs are scheduled to begin Friday and continue through Oct. 17, which means that the early part of this week will be filled with rumors and uncertainty — among parents and teachers — and the later part of this week and next will be filled with anger and resentment — all of which are likely to be captured by TV cameras for the next couple of weeks.

Unfortunately, this problem won’t be completely behind us for awhile.


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