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What the Flunk: Commission's Report Says Dallas ISD's HR Department Is Basically Useless

Just returned from a funeral to find the Dallas Independent School District board discussing 21 ways to get better candidates down to 3700 Ross and how to restructure human resources -- which, I know, sounds boring on the surface. But this is the so-called Star Employee Commission's report to the board, which has been months in the making, and it comes at a crucial time for the district, which isn't just looking for a superintendent but also a chief human resources officer (apply here, if you dare).

As trustee Eric Cowan put it: "Everything begins and ends with HR. The success of this district depends on HR." And a report such as the one you'll find on the other side could "fix decades' worth of mismanagement." Could. Didn't say "will."

The commission -- which included no less than Garrett Boone, co-founder and former CEO of the Container Store, who's written about issues of performance-versus-seniority at 3700 Ross -- more or less says HR is a dysfunctional, emasculated, inefficient, unhealthy mess that has no power, doesn't report to the superintendent and has given principals the ability to hire "without accountability." For starters.

Most of the trustees want the dozens of recommendations found below to be implemented day before yesterday. Said interim superintendent Alan King, he wants to "implement everything I can that doesn't cost anything or require board approval." And he wants to do it now. Edwin Flores said this will take years to implement, so they'd best hustle. Only Carla Ranger, of course, put up the whoa-whoa-whoa: "We have two weeks before some are calling for this vote. I would say we wait till February ... to study this more closely ourselves."

Far as Boone's concerned, "the most shocking" thing about the report is Item No. 16, which says "74 percent of employees are at risk for high blood pressure, 67 percent do not get enough exercise, and more than 48 percent have four or more risk factors."

The report suggests creating "wellness incentives" for DISD employees.

But till that happens, said Boone, "It's disturbing. ... To run a school system, to be effective ... you have to have energy and be healthy." Far as he's concerned, this revelation is "cause for five-alarm bells."

They're now talking about that teacher evaluation system, which they see as a piece of the solution to the problem delineated below.STAR Employee Commission Report


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