Last week the Asheville Citizen-Times reported the City Schools Superintendent Allen Johnson would be retiring.
Before I get into the public policy and political impacts this story raises, let me first issue a standard disclaimer: I have never met Mr. Johnson. I congratulate him on his retirement. I wish him only the best as he embarks upon the next chapter of his life.
However, the decision by the Asheville Board of Education to pay Johnson $175,000 for walking out the door is not only bad policy, its an abuse of the public trust and should outrage folks who want better prioritization in education spending, as well as those who want more education spending.
From the Citizen-Times report:
City schools will pay $175,000 to buy out Johnson’s remaining contract, which expires June 30, 2016.
Board of Education Chairwoman Jacquelyn Hallum said Johnson’s decision to retire was voluntary and the buyout was “part of the negotiation process.”
Hallum took over as board chairwoman earlier this year, and two new members, Matt Buys and Leah Ferguson, joined the board.
The announcement came during a Thursday morning board meeting.
“It caught us by surprise,” said Charlie Glazener, school system spokesman.
As I outlined Friday on the radio show, this smacks of a force-out.
First, there was absolutely no obligation for the school district to pay out such a large sum for an employee who was leaving voluntarily. Second, there should never have been a "negotiation process" when the employee voluntarily announces a retirement. Finally, the fact that the retirement caught the district spokesman by surprise indicates this was not planned - nor voluntary.
If the Asheville School Board wants to move in a new direction with a new superintendent, that's fine. But let's hear that discussion about what that new direction is, why Johnson is not the man to guide the district there, and how a new schools chief would be better suited for the job.
Otherwise, this is all just a lie.
For the children?
Just a day before this shake-up was reported, a bunch of statist education "activists" came to downtown Asheville to decry the Republican legislature. Basically, the message was "The GOP is ruining everything and we should spend more money on schools - but only if the government runs them all."
Within 24 hours, the City School Board approved the $175,000 unneccessary buyout of Supt. Johnson's contract. This is precisely why people find it hard to believe schools would spend more money wisely, and why limited government proponents believe government-controlled K-12 education needs competition in the marketplace.
The retirement present given to Johnson could've hired a teacher for about 5 years. Instead, taxpayers will be paying him for doing, quite literally, nothing.
Either the Asheville School Board paid off an employee for absolutely no purpose, or the Board and Johnson are lying about the real reason he's leaving. Neither option engenders confidence in the school system leadership, nor the Asheville City Council that oversees this operation.
-March 3, 2014-
3:00 -- Pete makes an uncontested arrival in the studio to discuss the Russian uncontested arrival in Ukraine.
4:00 -- More discussion on Russia's uncontested arrival in Ukraine. Plus, NC Lt. Gov. Dan Forest joins us to talk about his visit today to Asheville. Also, an update on the Kelo v. New London eminent domain case.
5:00 -- More on Russia, Russian dressing, and the horrors of Pete's childhood breakfasts. Plus, homeless Jesus statue causes outrage in Davidson, NC.
March 4, 2014
3:00 -- The Commissioner of the Southern Conference, John Iamarino, joins us to talk about the SoCon basketball tournament in town this week. Plus, the NC Democratic Party Chairman says party leaders don't "believe in the goodness of their neighbors."
4:00 -- Asheville City Council can't seem to figure out how to crack down on graffiti.
5:00 -- John Marshall joins us to appraise YOUR record albums.
March 5, 2014
3:00 -- Another delay in the implementation of Obamacare - this one specifically designed to shield vulnerable Democrats in the upcoming midterm election.
4:00 -- Jake Frankel from the Mountain Xpress joins us to talk about the latest issue on news stands today. Plus, if you think the local graffiti debate is over the "line between art and vandalism" - you've already lost the debate.
5:00 -- Sen. Kay Hagan votes to confirm to the DOJ a lawyer who defended cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. Plus, what's the difference between a hot tub and a jacuzzi?
March 6, 2014
3:00 -- Roger McCredie from the Tribune joins us to talk about the City of Asheville's attempt to take over the Pack Place building.
4:00 -- The Asheville City School Board adopts a lottery to pay 25% of teachers
5:00 -- A teachers union launches a website called "Cashing In On Kids" to attack private companies looking to educate kids. Plus, the Sicilian Space Program launches a connolo into space.
February 28, 2014
3:00 -- Russia invades Ukraine; Buncombe County Board of Elections asks to reduce its early voting hours for the primary; Kay Hagan goes to Seattle to raise money comes back a "middle-out minion"; NC NAACP President says vouchers aimed at getting poor black kids out of failing government schools is the same as 1950s white racists who tried to use vouchers to get white kids out of going to school with black kids.
4:00 -- The last time Federal agents devoted massive resources to investigating voter fraud was 1982 in Chicago, where 100,000 fraudulent votes were discovered (about 10% of the total cast).
5:00 -- The President interrupts Pete's show to express his disapproval of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Plus, voter fraud and monogamous flies.