The buses, by the way, are in terrible shape, and there are not enough mechanics to fix them during their frequent breakdowns.
I spent a couple of hours yesterday at the public-affairs office of the School Board reviewing employment files.
Somebody scrubs these files clean of all but basic information. But there is enough left to make inferences.
I was glad to see that that many teachers in the school system have good writing ability. One sees this from their letters of recommendation, application, etc. still left in the files. So Ms. Elia is, it seems, stands aberration in her inability to write well and to punctuate and handle grammar with ease--the marks of an educated person.
One is relieved to know that literacy amongst the poorly paid teachers shows common, although not amongst the administrative class represented by Ms. Elia, who makes $262,500 despite inability to punctuate.
One also marvels that the School Board members fell for a candidate like Elia who lacks basic writing ability since her job is to head a system to teach students how to write grammatically and to punctuate accurately. Ms. Elia also had meager experience in supervision work to list on her resume, and that experience was parochial--confined to the
Moreover, the Elia supervisory record includes a real-estate scandal in the Buildings Department costing taxpayers thousands of dollars during her tenure as head; her building-department-boss tenure also features overbuilding classrooms in Westchase. When La Elia became superintendent, she restructured Westchase boundaries to the community’s dismay. This maneuver covered up her overbuilding mistake when she headed the building department.
The Board was either too lazy to do its homework and know about these circumstances or colluded with them.
What Hillsborough County needs is a School Board that commits itself to students and community instead of to school administration's selfish interests while ignoring administration greed, lust for power, and incompetence.
These circumstances tell me that the superintendent process of selection is political. The candidate chosen escapes the usual criteria for success in the academic world such as superior literacy and instead succeeds on under-the-radar but potent in-school administration political forces.
The Board plays along. It dropped the Ph.D. requirement so that Ms. Elia could apply for superintendent; it chose her over much better candidates who could write grammatically and punctuate and who, moreover, had records of varied experience.
Hillsborough County voters must insist that the Board choose as superintendent not an in-house marginally literate political operative but a candidate of both stature and literacy. The literate teachers whose letters I saw in the files deserve a literate superintendent.
lee drury de cesare