Wow, it really is nice not to have to think about Huntsville City Schools on an hourly basis. It’s been a nice vacation.
But on Tuesday, the Huntsville Times reported that Thomas R. Skulina, and independent arbitrator who served as the hearing officer at Clark Sharp’s employment hearing, said that Dr. Wardynski’s hiring decisions since July directly impacted his decision in favor of Mr. Sharp retaining his position as a mechanic with Huntsville City Schools.
This is the third of nine hearings so far that the system has lost and that RIFed employees have won. Of the nine hearing that have occurred, three of the employees who lost, represented themselves. Of the six who had representation, the system has lost half.
There are 27 decisions still pending.
According to the Huntsville Times, Skulina criticized Dr. Wardynski hiring practices and expenditures on “employee recruitment.”
It would seem that others are taking notice of the strange approach to hiring that Dr. Wardynski has implemented immediately following one of the deepest reduction in force in the past ten years.
These invoice charges [of $670,000] were cited (in Sharp’s appeal) to underscore the point that enough adjustment in the work force had been made and did not necessitate the termination of this [Sharp] employee, who conceivable (sic) saves money for necessary services.
By my count, Skulina significantly underestimated the Wardynski spending spree.
Some of the invoices that Skulina referenced included the Teach for America Contract (which was cited incorrectly as being up to $550,000. The actual total for the contract over the next five years is $1.9 million), Dr. Cooper’s salary which was $7,054.74 above the maximum posted salary, hiring Aaron King for the newly created position of “Director of Transition” at a salary of $59,211 a year.
Skulina also reference Wardynski’s bonus salary, and the purchase of new computers for students. (He didn’t mention the purchase of new computers for the central office.)
In other words, despite the superintendent’s constant claim that he’s not spending money on the central office, even independent arbitrators are noticing that he’s spending more on himself than on staff or students.
Hopefully other arbitrators for the other 27 pending hearing will see the same thing.
Wardynski’s approach has been to spend money without regard of the long term impact. He seems completely unconcerned about cuts in services, larger class sizes, closing schools, hiring his friends, or repaying the Broad Foundation for his “training.”
Sadly the board of education is enabling all of these decisions as well.
We’ve already, in five months, matched the legal spending the system paid in the previous nine months before hiring Wardynski. With only nine of 27 cases decided, the legal expenditures for this system will easily clear $1 million this year.
So, we can spend money on lawyers. We can spend money on central office staff. We can spend money on computers. But spending on teachers, instructional assistants, and therapists isn’t allowed.
The Huntsville Times has asked recently for people to share their opinions about the new superintendent’s performance after six months on the job. I assume that if you’re a lawyer, in favor of closing schools, nepotism, or the head of a multi-million dollar foundation then you would have to say that Wardynski is the best thing that has ever happened to Huntsville City Schools.
If, on the other hand, you’re a parent struggling to get an appropriate education for your child, I’d have to say that the assessment of his first six months is quite dire.
Dr. Wardynski and the board are destroying Huntsville City Schools for a generation of students. Thankfully others are starting to notice.