Ann Sutherland has become the Rodney Dangerfield of the Fort Worth school board: She don’t get no respect. Last year she was censured and had a tough time getting her issues on the board’s agenda. Her crusade against pay raises given to high-ranking district officials while teaching jobs were being cut and classroom sizes ballooned went nowhere.
Now she’s back on the warpath, with two new issues in her crosshairs –– the amount of money the district has in reserve and another round of central office and non-teacher raises.
In an exchange with deputy superintendent Hank Johnson last month, she criticized the projected $160 million reserve. The district’s goal is to reserve 12 to 20 percent of its funds, but the current figure is closer to 28 percent –– roughly $40 to $90 million that could have been spent on students.
She told Johnson she would like to see that money go to hiring teachers and slimming class sizes. He told her that because recent budgets had been increased by various windfall grants, a larger than usual safety net is needed in case the district gets less grant money next year.
And the district plans to pump another $3.6 million into the payroll for non-teachers, including what she dubbed a “huge” $1.3 million increase for coaches and other stipends. On her blog, Sutherland for Schools, she characterized the budget as stiffing teachers and librarians.
Sutherland asked that the surplus issue be placed on last night’s board agenda. To paraphrase her, she was stiffed. The issue was left off. To quote Dangerfield, “The way my luck is running, if I was a politician I would be honest.”
Let Rove be Over
Full disclosure: Former George W. Bush puppeteer Karl Rove makes Static want to hurl. But then, Static dislikes anyone with a history of slinging unfounded innuendo about political adversaries. And now comes a New York Post “Page Six” piece from May 12 that says Rove suggested to the attendees at a conference that Hillary Clinton might have suffered brain damage when she fell in December 2012.
“Thirty days in the hospital, and when she reappears she’s wearing glasses that are only for people with traumatic brain injury?” he was quoted as saying. “We need to know what’s up with that.”
What’s up with that is, Rove made it up. She was in the hospital for three days, not 30. She had a blood clot removed from behind an ear. She’s fine. It was pure Rove: Make an insinuation and — job done. When someone picks up on the rumor, he’ll say he only asked the question.
For Rove, smear tactics are a way of life. Remember the hint that John McCain might have fathered a black love child? Or when Rove suggested that a former friend and Republican consultant from Texas, John Weaver, might have made an inappropriate pass at a young man? How about his TV appearances before the 2004 election repeating that the Bush administration had nothing to do with Swift Boating John Kerry –– which, of course, helped keep the Swift Boat campaign alive. And Static will never forget Rove insinuating that Ann Richards was a lesbian.
Now there’s Clinton and brain damage. This from a man we watched melt down on television during the last presidential election when he refused to believe Barrack Obama was going to win Ohio. Maybe that meltdown caused brain damage of its own? Just sayin’ …