He is meeting with Teach For America executive director Shyam Kumar Thursday afternoon.
“(I want to) talk about some of the logistics, expectations,” Hinojosa said, adding that he also plans on turning over all fundraising to Teach For America.
“(Teach For America) can let me know when they’ll need me to come to a fundraising meeting, but I’m also going to tell them that we’ll need to know something solid, for sure by X-date,” he said. “I don’t know when that date is but they need to have us a date of when they are sure that they can raise the money.”
Hinojosa said he will allow the non-profit organization to “work their list” for raising funds for Cobb Schools. Kumar emailed him a list of prospective fundraisers from metro Atlanta last fall when the superintendent was working on a contract to take before the board.
“We’re just talking how do we set up the support systems and details and then let them worry about the fundraising until they need me,” he said. “If they don’t have any fundraising success, then it may not even go to the board because we can’t do this without the external funds, and if they do have the support coming, then we’ll make it public, we’ll go to the board and let’s see kind of where we are.”
Phone calls and an email to Kumar requesting comment about fundraising were not returned Tuesday.
In mid-May, the board gave Hinojosa permission to start seek funding for a Teach For America contract for the 13-2014 school year.
He said Tuesday that he now feels more comfortable pursuing a contract with Teach For America, as opposed to when it was met with reluctance in January, because the board authorized him to do so.
Hinojosa was asking for 50 teachers in January, which would equate to about $400,000 in training funds, as opposed to the $200,000 for 25 teachers he now is seeking.
In his May request for authorization, Hinojosa: outlined parameters of the fundraising; vowed not to hire more than 25 teachers; noted that their training wouldn’t be paid for out of the district’s General Fund; that current Cobb teachers won’t be displaced; and that principals will have the purview to hire these individuals.
Board Member Alison Bartlett, who represents west-central Cobb and has previously been outspoken about not bringing Teach For America to Cobb, declined to comment on the superintendent’s intention to bring it back before the board later this fall, emphasizing that she had already voiced her opinion on Teach For America.
Last January during discussions about approving Teach For America for the 2012-13 school year, Bartlett said, “I believe in providing alternate education and different methods but at the same time I believe we should protect our employees, and I have real concerns when we’re talking to a $62 million loss in revenue (for FY13) ... when we talk about adding on additional costs.”
However, Board Chair David Morgan, who has been an advocate for Teach For America since its inception, continues to support Hinojosa’s decision to bring the vote back before the board.
“I’m still a huge fan of it and by all means, I want to see it executed in our district for the betterment of our children,” he said. “I think that Teach For America is another way to add more great teachers, so I think it’s a win-win situation!”