Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles will live to fight another day. During a more than lenthy session of the Dallas ISD board of trustees late Friday, no action was taken with regard to his employment. The board did adopt a "letter of concern" about Miles' performance, but the details of the letter were left to the closed session that took up the bulk of the meeting. Trustee Joyce Foreman made a motion to force Miles to resign in December, but it lost 6-3. Eric Cowan, thought by many to be a swing vote in the battle to get rid of Miles, voted against Foreman's motion because, he said "making this change now is irresponsible."
Friday's meeting was mandated by Dallas County District Judge Carl Ginsburg after three trustees sued the district for failing to promptly schedule a performance review for Miles, as they'd all requested.
Foreman, Elizabeth Jones and Bernadette Nutall -- the only three to vote to fire Miles --claimed that board President Miguel Solis violated district policy when he scheduled the meeting for May 14, more than 60 days after their requests. Solis claimed he simply had to set a date for the meeting within 60 days, not actually hold it within 60 days. Ginsburg agreed with the trustees and ordered Solis to hold the Miles review meeting at 4 p.m. today.
As the board came out of closed session, Foreman took the opportunity to air her grievances with Miles with gusto. She complained of the indignity suffered by Nutall when the trustee was removed from Dade Middle School by Dallas ISD police, and what she described as Miles' questionable hiring practices. She called Miles a bad manager.
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Nutall claimed that the discussion at the meeting neglected to focus on the data, instead, according to Nutall, it focused on the personal conflict between the anti-Miles trustees and Miles and his allies, including Solis. Miles is protected by powerful people she said, alluding to comments made by Dallas City Council member Dwaine Caraway on Thursday that the board was fighting over adult issues at the expense of children.
Miles, taking the mic a quarter of an hour or so before leaving the meeting at 9 p.m., thanked everyone on both sides who came to the meeting and to a rally before the meeting. He was brought in to reform the district, he said, and that was never going to be an easy process. He compared it to building a 20-story building. The foundation was the most difficult part.
Foreman took offense to Miles' leaving -- the superintendent said he had a long-standing commitment to spend time with his son -- and criticized Solis for not telling the trustees about Miles' plans during the closed session. Solis said it was his mistake.
So that's it. Almost seven hours, no action, but Miles, who wasn't even there for a significant chunk of the meeting, will be sure to know the board is concerned. Very concerned.