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Votes

Cost to Taxpayers

Letter to the Editor

— To the Editor:

News of the termination of Alexandria Superintendent Morton Sherman's contract is stunning in its particulars and consequences. Here is a city bureaucrat, accused of budget mismanagement and ultimately responsible for “testing irregularities” and school-system underachievement, who spends the summer negotiating a severance deal with Alexandria’s School Board and, as a result, harvests over $281,000 in pay-off, just so the city can be free of him. Really?!

Since his appointment, Sherman has regularly subjected Alexandrians to baseless bloviating about the glorious state of Alexandria’s public school system. In fact, throughout his tenure our system has been repeatedly recognized as one of the costliest (in terms of per-pupil spending) and poorest performing in the country. So much for the effectiveness of all those expensive consultants he hired over the years.

As one who generally prefers to pay local taxes — where the potential for control, or at least vigilance, of expenditures is greater than is the case with taxes levied at more-remote levels of government — I am appalled at the expensive deal the Alexandria School Board has struck with Sherman. Of course, we taxpayers will be financing that deal, which begs the question: How does the School Board intend to compensate Alexandrians for its persistent inability to hire competent superintendents, who then have to be released or, worse, paid off for falling way short of expectations? And will we now be expected to double dip — that is, concomitantly cover the costs of both the dismissal of the latest superintendent and the hiring and salary of the next?

Judy Navarro