I've been trading e-mails since yesterday with Dallas Independent School District’s spokesman extraordinaire Jon Dahlander on the subject of retired Air Force colonel Kimberly Olson, head of personnel for the district. She’s the person who approved all the unfunded teacher hirings that supposedly put Dallas schools in the worst fiscal crisis ever. Olson clearly enjoys full confidence of the superintendent and most of the school board.
I asked Dahlander -- because people keep calling and asking me -- how Olson can continue to work for DISD under the district’s residency requirements for employees, most of whom have to live in the city. Olson lives 62 miles west of Dallas in Weatherford.
At least, I assume she lives there, since she’s an elected member of the Weatherford Independent School District board of trustees. That post would definitely require her to live within the boundaries of the Weatherford ISD. I’m told she has a ranch. I have a call in to her and have made a request to talk to her through Dahlander.
As always, Dahlander has told me some stuff I did not know.
The last thing I knew -- and the impression of the people calling me -- was that the Dallas school board had granted residency waivers to top executives in October of 2007 that should have run out in October of this year.
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Dahlander tells me the board granted another extension to a list of people, including Olson, in March of this year until July 2009. So there you have it.
Most people who work for the school district have to live in Dallas. But not certain people. We could call them special people. But all of DISD is sort of special., isn’t it?
The board doesn’t have to stand for election. The top executives don’t have to obey the rules. Nobody counts the money. Nobody’s at fault for anything.
I guess this is what they mean when they talk about mentoring. --Jim Schutze