In September, Dallas Supt. Michael Hinojosa vowed to stay here and run the public schools for the remainder of his extended five-year term. I guess he was talking “dog years” when he made that statement.
The Cobb County school system near Atlanta called Hinojosa two weeks ago, he says, and asked if he was interested in their job. Hinojosa says two weeks earlier his oldest son by a previous marriage told Hinojosa he was having a baby, and that son lives near Atlanta. Hinojosa says the changing family circumstances changed his opinion about the potential job, and suddenly he was interested. And now, barring some shocking development during the 14-day statutory waiting period in Georgia before he can officially be hired, Hinojosa is gone.
Bottom line, if the guy doesn’t want to be here — and after attempting to leave for Las Vegas in September, there can be no doubt at this point — DISD’s human lightening rod needs to go. Hinojosa said during his announcement Thursday (the DMN posted the video of that announcement on its blog) that he would stay through adoption of a budget for next year, which is an important plus for DISD.
So it’s back to the drawing board for a new leader here, and given the new state of funding schools in Texas, maybe that’s the way it should be. Funding is going to be more scarce for at least a few years, which means that the board and the new superintendent need to “sunset” everything about the district and set a new course for the next 10 years.
In fact, if I can trot out my own idea again to make things better, it’s time for the board to hire two superintendents — one to be in charge of academics and one to be in charge of funding. As I’ve said in the past, good academic guys and good financial guys are rarely the same guys. With funding becoming a complicated job of its own, it makes sense to have the financial superintendent determine the revenue inflows for each year and allow the academic superintendent to spend that budget without either superintendent worrying about the other’s job.
One other point: Dallas mayoral runoff candidate Mike Rawlings has been talking a lot about improving DISD through the mayor’s office. With Hinojosa in charge, Rawlings’ influence on DISD — if elected mayor — would have been negliglble because Hinojosa was unlikely to let the fox in the henhouse, if you know what I mean.
But with a new superintendent to be selected on the heels of a new mayor taking office — whether it’s Rawlings or former police chief David Kunkle — it’s certainly possible that the two newbies could forge a closer alliance and perhaps work together more effectively.
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Oak Cliff.