When superintendent Vitt was hired he promised huge gains which would be delivered shortly and only Becki Couch of the current board actually voted to hire him. Paula Wright was on the board but she voted against him.
For the first two years the board gave superintendent Vtti seemingly without question whatever he asked for.
Then about two years ago that started to change, first when the super proposed open enrollment, something he back pedaled on after a couple weeks because the community pushed back and with the proliferation of charter schools.
This all came to a head about a year ago when Vitti made several radical proposals/boundary changes for schools mostly on the north and west sides of town. Their representatives, Couch, Hall and Wright, coincidentally all educators as well, pushed back and the board was split into two faction, those three on one side and Shine, Grymes, Fischer and Smith Juarez on the other.
Then this past summer with Fischer having resigned and Smith- Juarez separating a bit from her mentor Gary Chartrand and I believe her tiring of her treatment at the hands of Shine and the superintendent, the alliances started to shift. .
This takes us to two weeks ago when the board approved a new budget not because all the members were comfortable with it but because they were statutorily required to do so.
And what about those gains he promised? After a first year bloodbath they have been modest at best.
That catches us up.
When setting goals for the district mostly having to do with the achievement gap between white and minority students, the education faction of the board wanted aspirational goals while the superintendent was only wiling to offer modest ones.
This went back and fourth and finally Mrs. Smith Juarez asked him to take his talents elsewhere.
Scott Shine got wind of this and alerted his contacts in the press and business world who have been overwhelmingly, I would argue despite the evidence, pro Vitti.
Huge amounts of pressure came to bear and ASJ walked back her intent to replace the superintendent.
Last Friday the board met, recriminations were thrown in both directions by board members and ASJ and Vitti apologized to each other.
They met again Monday to discuss the achievement gap between white and minority students that started the kerfuffle, and the education faction of the board wanted aspirational goals while the superintendent, probably feeling emboldened and despite the fact he had changed his tune last week signaling a willingness to offer higher goals was now again only wiling to offer modest ones.
And yes folks that means we were right back to where we started
Strangely enough they were also both right.
I don’t believe aspirational goals are the way to go. I agree with the superintendent we need reasonable and achievable goals. Huge goals that we most likely won’t meet would most likely demoralize the district and lead to more finger pointing.
At the same time I thin ASJ was right and that it was time for the super to go, though I look at teacher moral, discipline, communication and the Engage NY curriculum he picked, that are all dreadful.
There you go.
Welcome to Duval County.