Letter: Appointed School Board Needed

Letter: Appointed School Board Needed

To the Editor:

Regarding the recent news of the report/study done by the accounting firm of Robinson,Farmer, Cox Association for ACPS, isn't it amazing how Superintendent Sherman completely attempts to divert attention from his responsibility as superintendent of Alexandria Public Schools and points the finger of blame on upper management employees who have either resigned or been terminated. Now we find that school board chair Sheryl Gorsuch has called for another independent compliance "audit" of financial controls for ACPS CIP programs/procedures. Why? Wasn't this report, not an audit, already completed by the accounting group with recommendations for changes even though the accounting firm was not provided with any data from ACPS and Superintendent Sherman?

Mr. Sherman has stated that he wants to "move ahead in a unified manner." Sorry Superintendent Sherman. We cannot moved forward until this major lack of compliance, transparency, financial issues and facts are set forth in an open, complete audit, not a report.

What are some of the things that can be done to restore trust and accountability from the leadership of Alexandria schools? I would first suggest that the most important step is for Superintendent Sherman to begin looking for another job, ASAP. To ask for his resignation from a clueless school board who have just extended his contract for another three years until 2014 with a salary increase to $250,000 plus a $40,000 annuity is not realistic. It would be too expensive to buy out Mr. Sherman's new contract.

Secondly, if ever there was a time for a referendum to be placed on the November ballot to have an all appointed school board, now is the time. Our elected delegation in Richmond would have no problem allowing Alexandria to place this referendum on the November ballot.

Superintendent Sherman has made certain since he was hired three years ago that he would have absolute power and control of our school district/school board and it was going to be his way or the highway. He has obviously done away with the needed checks and balances for financial accounting, continuing to prop up his image and has shown little interest in the academic achievements and needs of all students who attend Alexandria schools. The school board has fallen in line and dare not question nor counter what Mr. Sherman wants to enhance his public image. Current school board members should consider not running again as they are as compliant in this CIP financial mess as is Mr. Sherman and refuse to accept responsibility. The buck stops with the superintendent and the school board members who hired him.

Alexandria school system cannot regain its credibility until there is new leadership at the top and an appointed school board. Superintendent Sherman and all members of the current school board have failed every student/teacher/support staff and all Alexandria taxpayers wherein the school district's budget takes up a major part of the city's budget. ACPS teachers and staff really do care about teaching their students, making sure they learn and achieve, but have been hamstrung by Superintendent Sherman's narcissitic needs.

Annabelle Fisher