Evaluation of Dukes set for discussion

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The evaluation of the director of schools' first year in office will be the topic of a school board work session Thursday.

At the board's April 11 meeting, board member Barbara Kennedy requested the work session.

She pointed out that board members had received Roy Dukes' evaluation in January and at that meeting they unanimously approved a motion to have him respond to the evaluation by their March meeting.

This was not done, though, in fact, Dukes is not obliged to make a response.

"It's his option to respond; he doesn't have to," said board attorney Sam Jackson at that January meeting.

Now Kennedy wants board members to get together to "set goals and objectives based on this evaluation."

"Come prepared with what you'd like to see," Kennedy told them. "We need to take everything and get a specific plan."

On Thursday the board might also discuss what Kennedy called a "disproportionate number of personnel issues."

"We've spent a huge sum with Jackson to investigate complaints, and we can't afford it," she said. "We need to form a policy to make this stop."

An anonymous list of 22 "activities that are illegal or against Board Policy," which Dukes has allegedly done or continues to do has been circulating in Lewisburg.

When she was faxed a copy of the list, Kennedy responded that the work session could also cover compliance with all policies and laws.

"In the meantime," Kennedy wrote in an e-mail, "I expect I'll do some digging on my own to try and determine how much of your list is 'real' and how much is merely 'perception.' Certainly those items with merit will have to be addressed so that corrective action can be taken immediately and going forward."

Item 10 on the list states, "Evaluation results were worse than the last director (Stan Curtis) who was fired."

Kennedy commented, "I am not sure it's fair to compare the two," since the format and questions of the evaluations were totally different.

Nevertheless, she "tried converting Dr. Curtis' scores using the same 2-5 scale that was used for Mr. Dukes and found that Mr. Dukes' overall average was 3.0 and Dr Curtis' was 3.45."

In January, the Tribune studied the Dukes' evaluation scores and concluded, "Dukes' score is in the middle of the next to last quartile, exactly where former director Stan Curtis' score was in summer 2009 when the board rated his first year in office."

Curtis' score was called "unacceptable" by former board member Craig Michael, but so far none of the present board members has publicly commented on Dukes' scores.