Superintendent misleads PNJ and Board

February 20, 2012

On Saturday, the daily newspaper reported that “Escambia County School Board members said they were disappointed the district didn’t receive any credit from the school(A.A. Dixon) when the donation (of three school buses) was announced earlier this month.”

The announcement of which the board is whining was the one by the A.A. Dixon, an inner-city charter school, that Levin-Rinke Resort Realty has bought three buses for the school.The school district wanted credit for the donation and claimed the company had only paid for maintenance.

The truth is that Superintendent Malcolm Thomas and his staff had told A.A. Dixon that they would have to buy the school buses at auction. The price tag was $10,000, which the school had already placed on its January financials as a payable. Rev. Lutimothy May went out and raised the $10K based on that district’s demands—-something Thomas never thought he could do.

The amazing thing is the School Board and Thomas knew this. I was at the board workshop when they discussed the buses, their price and the challenges of getting trained drivers for the bus. A review of the tapes of the meeting will prove it.

What Thomas found out after that earlier meeting was that state law mandates that he give the charter school the surplus property. He had no choice but to hand over the buses–something that he didn’t tell Rev. May, the school board or the newspaper.

So what does the board do last Friday? Blindside and Chastise the African-America school principal. Thomas says nothing.

And Superintendent Thomas also tells the daily paper that he plans to give the charter school a 90-day notice that he will close the school at the end of this school year. The man is doing everything he can to sabotage that inner-city school with the help of weak compliant board and a daily newspaper that never verifies what he says.

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  • observer February 23, 2012 at 9:05 am


    Can’t blame the new offices on Thomas. It was bought during the Paul administration.

  • Jimmy Williams February 22, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Rick I read your article today our school district needs to be investigated for not teaching all students, Malcolm prefers to buy a building from Gulf Power so that he can have a plush office with leather seats, rather than improve the learning conditions of all students, recommendation lets keep closing schools in Black community.

  • jim davison February 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    this community is suffering from a bad case of Bergosh Blight. Double and triple dipping is an art form in Escambia County.

  • Cal Robinson February 22, 2012 at 10:44 am

    “In Florida, a superintendent may be appointed by the school board, instead of popularly elected, if the measure passes by local referendum. 26 Florida school districts have already done this.”

    The problem with that is that as long as the school board is made up of good ole boys and girls, they will just appoint a good ole superintendent.

    We used to have an appointed superintendent whose selection was based on who they were friends with. If the board had actually appointed a professional who knew what they were doing we probably wouldn’t have switched to an elected superintendent.

    We’re between a rock and hard place either way we go.

    That the school board blindly follows Thomas and doesn’t call him out on his failures makes them just as bad as him.

  • observer February 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    The problem isn’t the teachers. The problem is the people at the top that are requiring the teachers teach to the test. That is causing the students to frankly give up on school, because it is boring. We need to allow teachers to innovate.

    I’ve taught in schools with Teach for America teachers in another state. They were no better than any other new teacher (and not much worse either). The problem is that the good ones are using it for resume stuffing, and after their three year stint will go off to get better jobs. The bad ones will abandon the schools before the first year is over. I will admit, the Teach for America teachers did make for more interesting school cafeteria conversations.

  • mark February 21, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    observer – so your suggestion for improving the situation would be…… Recall the definition of insanity prior to posting your response. Swapping Malcolm out is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • jeeperman February 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    You can not have an agreed upon price on something to be auctioned. Minimum bid requirement, yes.
    You also can not negotiate an agreement to sell to anyone in particular any item that goes to auction ahead of time.
    That would be called collusion.
    And did the buses cost May $10k or zero ?

  • observer February 21, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I agree with the schoolwatcher–superintendent of schools shouldn’t be elected.

    I disagree with mark. Teach for America teachers hit the classroom like a deer in the headlights. They are unprepared and don’t usually know what they are doing. Their only saving grace is that they do know their subject areas.

    Mr. Thomas tends to gather data, and make the exact wrong decisions most of the time. Look at what happened with Warrington. He gathered data and thought that it indicated he should dismantle the school and start over. The school was doing better than he thought, and he wasted a lot of money and caused a lot of turmoil, and put in a much weaker faculty at the school.

    I hope that both Republicans and Democrats run against him. While he was great at gathering data for the school board in his past job, he does a poor job of using it.

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