Brand-new Dallas Independent School District board president Lew Blackburn emerged from executive session this afternoon to announce the trustees have narrowed their list of interim superintendent candidates to "four or five," and should be ready to name their pick by Monday.
Blackburn, who took over the board presidency just last week, said they'd "possibly make a decision by Friday," but "for sure on Monday, we hope." With that decision out of the way, Blackburn said, the board can get down to business choosing a search firm to pick us a winner of a school chief we can keep.
Blackburn was light on details about the candidates they're considering for the interim post, but said the board was able to narrow the list from 10 candidates. "Some trustees want somebody from the inside, some people want somebody from the outside," he said. "Each of us have gotten several names."
All those discussions happened behind closed doors today at 3700 Ross after a 10-minute public meeting lasted just long enough for Carla Ranger to urge her colleagues to make the selection process as transparent as possible.
Blackburn began this afternoon's meeting by announcing the board would go immediately into executive session, but Ranger cut him off, saying the agenda for the day included public discussion of how they'd choose the interim superintendent.
"Whatever we do, the process should be open, should be transparent and should be one that the public is fully privy to," Ranger said.
Last week, Ranger proposed an "administrative council" of current DISD officials take on Hinojosa's role temporarily, primarily as a money-saving measure. That proposal doesn't look to have much support from the board. Today, district lawyers told her the idea would be technically legal, if a bit of a stretch. "It is implied in the law that there is a superintendent," they told her.
Before the board retired to the back room to throw names around, a couple other trustees took advantage of the Q&A time with district lawyers. Eric Cowan asked what would happen if the board couldn't reach a consensus on a replacement before Hinojosa leaves. District lawyers reminded him they wouldn't need to agree. A simple majority would be good enough.
Bernadette Nutall had a legal question of her own before the board went into closed session. "Can we clarify the interim's role in this?" she asked. "It's temporary, right?"
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.