John Caldecott has to go and spoil the fun.

You remember, John, don’t you? He’s the ex-head of HR for the district who, did a good job while he was there.

But he was fired by e-mail last year. The Super requested it and the board approved it.

Did Caldecott break the law?

No.

Did he abuse or harass a colleague?

No.

Did he take someone’s Diet Dr. Pepper out of the fridge in the lunchroom?

No.

Did he fail to perform his duties adequately?

No, though that last one wouldn’t really make a difference because there is no accountability in the district. It’s a sweet deal: You get paid a lot of taxpayer funds and your superiors won’t fire you for poor performance because that means a bar is set, which means they’d just be opening themselves up to scrutiny. Plus, only a handful of the public cares about what’s going on in our schools so when the schools in CM fail to meet the state standards for Common Core, for example, no one is going to threaten you with your job.

Nice work if you can get it.

No, Caldecott didn’t do any of that. His crime was asking questions about some financial maneuverings that he suspects may not pass the smell test. After he was fired, he sued to have the district reveal documents that would prove his point. The district is resisting, which is driving up the legal fees that are paid for with your tax dollars.

Yeah, it would been a lot cheaper for you if the district had just said, “Sure! We’re all about transparency so here’s everything you asked for.” But that didn’t happen because that’s not how entrenched bureaucracies and career bureaucrats operate. They’re about stonewalling, not transparency.

Caldecott’s case is still alive and well. Soon, there will be oral arguments over whether the district needs to comply with the request. While all this saber rattling is going on, the district holds its second annual love-in known to you as the State-of-the-Schools Address and some of the kids at College Park El are being taught in Chinese.

And people ask me why I do what I do…

Steve Smith

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