The San Francisco Chronicle went ballistic this morning over the Oakland school board's decision to appoint an interim superintendent. The Chron was incensed because the board made its decision behind closed doors. As an advocate of open government, it's hard to defend the board's secret decision. Then again, when was the last time that any public agency made a decision in public to hire an interim leader? The Chron story should have provided that context.
Moreover, Oakland residents and parents have been advocating for a return of local control for years, and as we've pointed out, the state's decision to return some powers to the local school board was meaningless unless the board hired its own superintendent. In addition, the Chron questioned whether the district could afford the new interim's $250,000 annual salary. But as we've pointed out, the district is sitting on a large surplus, and the extra costs won't be a problem. In fact, state Administrator Vince Matthews announced earlier this year that the district was in such good shape that it wouldn't have to layoff any teachers, despite the statewide cutbacks. Finally, the Chron failed to note what a smart choice the board made in its selection.