Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pecko out at TPS

Monday I questioned if Jerome Pecko, the superintendent of Toledo Public Schools, was on his way out.

It wasn't anything specific, but a combination of comments by board members and some reflection on past performance that led me to question if his contract would be renewed.

Like others in the community, I was surprised to learn that the TPS Board was planning to hold a special meeting Wednesday so they could go into executive session to discuss this very matter.

And today we learn that yes, indeed, Pecko's contract with TPS will not be renewed.

This puts a lot on the plate of TPS board members and administrators.

They're in the process of doing a comprehensive performance audit and will have multiple recommendations to implement when it is finished.

They have a levy that expires this year and they *need* to have it renewed or they'll face serious budget issues. Their last three requests for additional new money have been rejected overwhelmingly by voters.

They have contract negotiations with their unions coming up.

And now they need to find someone to lead the district - either an interim while they search for a permanent replacement or someone they can find and hire before August when Pecko's term is up.

I don't envy them the tasks before them, but I believe this is a tremendous opportunity for TPS and all of us.

Any new superintendent should be prepared to aggressively implement the recommendations from the performance audit and hopefully save the district - and the public - significant dollars.

The new super should also take a serious look at Pickett Elementary and commit to ending the deplorable and unacceptable 12-year run that school has had in academic emergency status.

The new superintendent should also be someone who understands that the children (not unions or administrators or board members) come first and that the taxpayer needs to see real progress and accountability for the dollars they are spending.

Ideally, TPS will involve the community in the search for a new leader for TPS. They've done a good job of inclusion on the performance audit - maybe they're finally getting the message.

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