By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Soothing the savage beast
Finally, something harmonious, melodic--hell, downright soothing--is emanating from 3700 Ross Ave., Dallas Independent School District's central office--not to be confused with the set of The (Not So) Young and the Restless.
What accounts for the sweet tunes? Well, it's not that school board members have suddenly clasped hands and started singing "Kumbaya." It's just that while everyone else at DISD headquarters was moonlighting in skullduggery and extracurricular sexual pursuits, school district spokesman Jon Dahlander was writing piano solos and cutting a CD.
His just-released Piano Landscapes, put out by Dallas-based Carpe Diem Records, includes such John Tesh-like tunes as as "Bright Shade," "The Strawberry Princess," and "Peaks and Valleys."
Was that last piece inspired by Yvonne "I'm-doing-it- for-the-children" Gonzalez's tenure?
Speaking of valleys, it looks like Gonzalez is going to need more than a bulldozer to climb out of the hole she has dug for herself. Whether or not trustees wait until her 30-day suspension is up to can her, the odds are long against her surviving the latest storm.
Buzz is offering an autographed tracking device and a free copy of Martha Stewart Living to the reader who comes up with the most inspired suggestion for Gonzalez's next career move. An interior decorator, perhaps? Maybe she can start her own private investigation firm? A return to the classroom as a sex education teacher?
The sad truth is that she'll probably wind up on the Voyager Expanded Learning gravy train like her sorry predecessor, former DISD superintendent Chad Woolery. Woolery signed an $87,000 contract with the for-profit Voyager, which runs after-school programs, to provide services at nine Dallas schools. Woolery signed the contract just weeks before he announced his resignation to take a job as president of Voyager's foundation.
Gonzalez learned her self-serving lessons well from Woolery. This spring Gonzalez enthusiastically supported the district's giving Voyager a $500,000 contract--paid for with federal funds--to set up a summer enrichment program for some 4,000 bilingual students. She did so over the objections of several board members who questioned the wisdom of awarding the contract without entertaining bids from rivals or considering the option of the district continuing to run its own summer program.
Sincerest form of flattery
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram came out last week with its "Best of Tarrant" issue. Buzz was amused by the ballot the paper had been circulating, which asked readers to forget about chain businesses in their picks for best burger, best pizza, best coffee bar, etc. We guess that would put the S-T out of the running for best daily in Fort Worth. Last time we checked, the S-T was owned by Knight-Ridder, a monster chain. (Of course, Buzz has never been timid about pitching stones from glass houses: The Dallas Observer is part of New Times Inc., an--ahem--chain).
--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams