Contrasts found in notes on Dukes

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Striking differences are evident in how two school board members rated the Marshall County director of schools.

Even the most cursory examination of their scores of Roy Dukes reveals that board members Ann Tears and Donnie Moses see him in completely different lights.

Taken together, Tears' ratings on the 30 questions of the evaluation work out to a score of 84.7 percent, while Moses gives Dukes a score of 40 percent, calling his performance "poor" in every instance.

Tears rates Dukes "very good" on 10 questions, and never rates his performance as less than "fair." Her comments relate more to what board members and principals should be doing, in her opinion, than to how the director is performing. Tears compliments Dukes on the way highly qualified minority employees have been hired and retained.

Moses justifies his ratings with comments such as "audit of federal books is very troubling; shows lack of controls and respect for policy," and "We are sending the wrong message," and "Reorganization of the central office is a complete disaster...inexperience and inadequate staffing are a major concern."

Moses' wife, Teresa, was the federal projects bookkeeper at the schools central office until Dukes abolished her position in May.

"My husband announced for school board right before my job was abolished," Teresa Moses wrote in her complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission office in Nashville. "He ran against Mr. Dukes' supporter," Craig Michael. Teresa Moses' complaint to the EEOC claims discrimination based on race and retaliation.

Board member Curt Denton gives Dukes the second-highest rating at 79.3 percent, with one question scored "fair" and all the rest "good." Denton, however, makes the fewest comments, limiting his remarks about Dukes, saying he "could improve on communication with Board." Denton also wrote that Dukes could "improve on pleasing Barbara (Kennedy)," another member of the board.

Kennedy marks Dukes only a little higher than Moses did, at 47.3 percent. "Communication is key" she wrote, criticizing Dukes for not giving board members "information critical to decision making" sufficiently in advance of meetings.

"Unless it has to deal with a specific problem, I am unaware of any time the director has solicited input from parents or other community members," Kennedy wrote.

She also criticized reorganization of central office, stating that the two new supervisors of instruction are "struggling with a 'learning curve'" and that "by eliminating one and a half accounting positions in the name of budget cuts, internal controls, that are vital to compliance and accountability, have been compromised."

The other board members and their percentage scores were: Harvey Jones Jr., 53.3; Kristen Gold, 54.8; Randy Perryman, 58.7; and Mike Keny, 60.

Gold refused to score seven questions, stating that she did not have enough information to give a rating and her percentage mark has been adjusted accordingly. She did provide plenty of comments, citing concern with lack of "current and accurate financial information" and stating, "I do not believe staffing for the district has been based on 'most qualified' personnel. The director... has been unresponsive to personnel problems, allowing certain individuals to create a hostile work environment..."

"While the Race to the Top goals must be a priority of the system, this system needs to be operating efficiently with most qualified personnel performing duties as best as possible.

"Once this is the case and the support system that is the central office exists to assist the administrators, teachers, staff and pupils at the schools, the education goals can be achieved," Gold concludes at the end of her comments.