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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

School commission does its job; Gerald Henley freaks

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2007 at 1:26 PM

Cleveland’s Bond Accountability Commission is charged with monitoring how the district spends your money on its $1.5 billion schools construction project. Recently, panel administrator Jim Darr broke the news that the district will likely have to eliminate at least 30 schools from the program —and that it still needs millions of dollars more to finish the project. (See “Bait & Switch” in Wednesday’s Scene.) Darr and the commission are asking important questions about which schools will be closed and how much taxpayers will have a say in that decision. But apparently such curiosity is not appreciated by all. At last night’s commission meeting, former school board president Gerald Henley chastised Darr and his board for, well, doing what their supposed to do. He said they were undermining the authority of new schools chief Eugene Sanders by releasing information about the project before he did. Here on earth, you might say this makes the panel a good public watchdog. But Henley isn’t convinced. This is the same guy who was held up as an example of why our city can’t have an elected school board. In the late ‘90s, when the schools were still under the thumb of Columbus, state officials tried to have Henley removed because he was causing so much trouble. They accused him of defying state orders and threatening to fire then-superintendent James Penning, as well as any school employees who followed Penning’s orders. Now Henley’s mad because the latest superintendent savior — who he supports -- got upstaged by a public panel that actually decided to do its job. Next, we’re sure he’ll complain that the kids are reading too much. Welcome back, Henley. – Lisa Rab
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