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Dallas Superintendent Critics Still Attack, But Trustees Civil, Silent

Bill Zeeble

Critics of Dallas Superintendent Mike Miles again spoke out at Thursday’s school board briefing. It was the first time Miles officially sat with the entire school board since last week’s independent report that found some of his actions could cause his dismissal.


Before business of the 4:00 pm briefing could engage the trustees, teachers and activists weighed in and their comments all had to do with the Coggins report. Juanita Wallace, with the Dallas NAACP, again said Miles needed to go.

“He breached his employment contract, according the $100,000 investigator.  Trustees, if you aren’t going to use the findings, why go through the charade?  The superintendent has no respect for you, you can’t control him, he’s like a runaway bandit.”

Several teachers followed. Rena Honea, who leads Dallas’ largest teacher group, summed up the Alliance/AFT’s assessment of Miles.  

“ It’s one thing to be a leader with a good following, but when you’re the leader and no one’s behind you from rank and file, you’re out there by yourself.”

Honea said there’s no trust for Miles from many teachers.

There was however one defender of Miles in that she criticized the school board. City Plan Commission member Betty Culbreath, a veteran of city and county government, said trustees had overstepped their legal bounds by lengthening the initial Coggins investigation.

“The board, without a vote, without a public meeting, expanded the scope of that investigation.”     

Culbreath said she’s filed a list of ten complaints against the board with the Texas Education Agency.

With the speakers finished, trustees settled into a strictly business briefing, with no mention of the Coggins report they’ve all been occupied with this past week.

Saturday morning however, that will be all the board will discuss. It’s the only agenda item for the rare, 9 o’clock weekend closed session. School Board President Eric Cowan says trustees still won’t vote on the superintendent’s future until yet another meeting.

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.