Board members cautioned for interferingBy JERI BORST JBORST@DDTONLINE.COM,
MDE reviews GPSD board’s actions
Allegations of Greenville Public School Board members interfering with day-to-day operations of the school district were reviewed by the Mississippi Department of Education and found valid.
A source not associated to the GPSD disclosed a March 7, 2019 letter from the MDE to the Greenville Public School Board, Jo Ann Malone, the executive director of the Office of Accreditation for MDE, said in the letter her office was made aware of complaints more than a year ago.
According to the March 2019 letter, the board was notified in writing in May 2018 of the allegations.
According to the letter, the MDE Office of Accreditation received official complaints involving school board members Doris Thompson and Emmanuel Edmond.
According to the letter, specific allegations include:
• Board Member Thompson has publicly instructed the superintendent to disregard policy and afford certain rights to individual employees, specifically to allow teacher resignations despite district policy and superintendent recommendations;
• Board Member Thompson questioned the superintendent’s denial of personal leave to a school administrator and stated the superintendent should have advised the administrators to use sick days (despite local board policy);
• In April 2018 after Board Member Edmond received a call from a parent, Board Member Edmond instructed the superintendent to investigate an allegation of bullying and report the findings to him “within no less than 2 hours”;
• Board Member Edmond questioned the pay of an employee whose pay had been docked based on a policy decision and the superintendent’s decision to dock the pay stating concern for the financial impact on the employee’s family.
• Board Member Edmond questioned the resignation of a teacher based on “what he had been told by several people;”
• Board Member Edmond demanded that the superintendent address the concerns of a teacher who had resigned despite the board attorney’s assurance that the superintendent had not done anything wrong; and
• Board Member Edmond uses his phone to allow non-board members to listen to the discussions held during executive session.
The Mississippi Public School’s Accountability Standards describes local school board’s responsibilities as “pertaining to matters of setting policy and assessing results,” according to MDE’s letter, which notes board members “shall not interfere with the day-to-day operations of the school district.”
According to letter, day-to-day operations includes personnel and management. Failure to comply “shall result in the immediate downgrade of the districts accreditation status to ‘probation’ or ‘withdrawn’.
The school board was notified to respond to MDE Office of Accountability within 30 days and present documentation of compliance.
A records request asking was made by the DD-T to MDE for more information. The documents are under review and more information will be published soon.