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KCISD insults taxpayers with silence on super

May 18, 2019 GMT

The arrogance being displayed by leaders of the Kirbyville CISD is breathtaking. The district’s highest-paid and most-important employee, its superintendent, is leaving. He won’t say anything about it; board members aren’t saying much. In fact, they rushed from the meeting room Thursday night like scared kittens to avoid any bothersome questions. They wouldn’t return phone calls afterward.

To top it all off, the superintendent’s secretary said she would provide a statement if she received a public information request. That request was provided Friday, but no information was released.


That’s outrageous. The taxpayers of the school district deserve answers and openness on this important change. They should not be treated like children who are bothering grownups at the big table at Thanksgiving, shushed and told to go away.

If the board had any respect for their public position, they would have been ready to say at least a few words after the meeting concluded. If departing superintendent Tommy Wallis wanted to be straightforward with the people who have placed their trust in him for years had the same integrity, he also would have said something.

Mind you, not a lot, necessarily, though more is always better. Just the decency of at least a few words explaining what had happened and why, and what taxpayers could expect next.

Kirbyville residents also should challenge the district to move quickly in responding to a public information request. Yes, state law allows public officials up to 10 days to search for a document if they don’t have it immediately available. If it’s sitting on a desk or in a file cabinet, it should be released to taxpayers immediately. There is absolutely no reason the board has to take 10 days to figure out what it is going to say on the departure of the district’s top employee.

Current board members can start repairing the damage they caused by pledging to release the names of all finalists in the search for the next superintendent. That’s not the — wink, wink — identification of one person who is passed off as the “sole finalist.”

Simply put, taxpayers deserve better. Residents should take note of this conduct and factor it into their votes in future trustee elections. They should listen to the words of Mark Meredith, a parent who is active in the district: “I want to see a complete overhaul of the way things are done in this district. I want to see more transparency. I want our officials to be accountable.”

Nothing good comes from secrecy and evasion. Many good things come from openness and honesty. The choice between those two options should be easy in Kirbyville, and anywhere.