CCSB won’t make superintendent’s evaluation public
by Lindsay Field
October 02, 2012 01:22 AM | 7091 views | 17 17 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cobb Super Dr. Michael Hinojosa. MDJ Staff Photo
Cobb Super Dr. Michael Hinojosa. MDJ Staff Photo
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MARIETTA — The Cobb School Board won’t share with the public how elected board members evaluated Superintendent Michael Hinojosa’s performance.

Although state law allows the evaluation to be kept confidential as part of an employee’s personnel file, Marietta City Schools routinely makes its superintendent’s evaluation public.

The Journal filed an Open Records Request for Hinojosa’s evaluation, which the board

completed in May after a one-hour executive session.

Spokesman Jay Dillon wrote in reponse that the evaluation is privileged under O.C.G.A. 20-2-210(a).

But school board member David Banks, who represents northeast Cobb, said he wouldn’t have a problem with at least a summary of the board’s feedback on Hinojosa being available to the public.

“The board should be as transparent as possible,” he said. “It’s a very critical area as far as the school system is concerned. To me, the public ought to know how the board views the status of the superintendent.”

Banks said his only complaint about Hinojosa relates to communication between he and the board, though Banks declined to say more.

Hinojosa took the helm of the 105,000-student district on July 1, 2011, succeeding Fred Sanderson, who retired. His contract will be up for renewal in next June.

Cobb’s board chair Scott Sweeney did not return calls for this story.

Board member Alison Bartlett, who represents west-central Cobb, agreed that the evaluation should be kept confidential.

“The point of reviews is to improve a person’s behavior,” Bartlett said. “I don’t think if you’re dealing with subjective worlds and specifically political worlds, it should be available to the public.”

Bartlett said her only complaint regarding Hinojosa’s performance to date relates to the political side of his job.

“Unfortunately, superintendents’ jobs are very political. Dr. Hinojosa understands the nature of that beast and he’s very effective at it. That sometimes frustrates me because I’d rather go in a straight line from A to D, rather than A, B, C, D,” she said. “The path that (the district) chooses to take is sometimes different, not wrong.”

The things she’s been pleased with are communication efforts between he, the board and administration, the new principal selection process, and Hinojosa’s visibility in schools.

“I am always hearing schools say, ‘He visited me today,’” she said. “That says a lot that he’s out and about in his community, not sitting in an office.”

Bartlett said that she’s been able to have a more “open and honest” dialogue with Hinojosa as superintendent and that she doesn’t feel patronized by the administration.

In July, Vice Chair David Morgan proposed the board rewrite the superintendent’s evaluation so that it incorporates more measures of accountability. If the board approves that new format this month, it could go into use next year.

Besides incorporating more data on factors such as the graduation rate, Advanced Placement participation, the percentage of students exceeding on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test and End-of-Course Tests, individual school performance, fiscal management, board/superintendent relations and stakeholder satisfaction, most of the new evaluation will be made public, according to the superintendent himself.

Hinojosa said the only portion of the evaluation that would not be made public refers to board/superintendent relations, which accounts for 15 percent of the evaluation.

Bartlett said the new evaluation tool is a “step in the right direction.”

“Since it’s a smaller document it’s easier to focus on it … the goals we’re setting show scores and improvement,” she said.

For Marietta City Schools, board chair Jill Mutimer said the board spent several hours in executive session discussing superintendent Dr. Emily Lembeck’s goals and performance, and then gave their feedback in open session.

“The code does say that the evaluation shall be kept confidential,” Mutimer said. “However, that is really a protection for the Superintendent. If the Superintendent approves making the evaluation document public, it is OK to do so.

“We have been doing this since Dr. Lembeck became Superintendent,” Mutimer said. “It is just a practice of MCS.”

Should Dr. Hinojosa's evaluation be made public


Comments
(17)
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Confidential????
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October 03, 2012
Did anyone receiving David Bank's Grapevine on September 28th, Vol. 101 notice he attached a document that the title clearly states, Cobb County School District, Human Resources. This contained personal information, including Mr. Kelly's salary information.

I would like to know if the board supports his releasing School Board documents. Maybe Mr. Banks will get a copy of the superintendent's evaluation and attach it to his next Grapevine.
Concerned taxpayer
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October 03, 2012
It is amazing that over 80% of the people feel the superintendent's evaluation should be made public and the board ignores it. I'm glad the MDJ has asked for the evaluation to be made public, but when are the taxpayers going to stand up and demand this information. There is a problem with this superintendent that started with his questionable hiring and has continued throughout his tenure.

Everyone knows his evaluation did not go well, but let's see if the board renews his contract.
Release 2
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October 02, 2012
Nothing keeps Hinojosa from releasing the evaluation himself. He can't violate his own privacy. If he were interested in transparency he should release it.
VFP42
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October 02, 2012
They won't make his review public because by comparison that Sanderson guy will look worse than ever and people will question whether he is worth all the contract dollars he earns. I can tell you most assuredly in my opinion Sanderson ain't worth a dime.
pollwatcher
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October 02, 2012
The super works for the board and they are elected by us, so it is really unjust that they hide behind this "personnel" malarky. The stakeholders in Cobb Co.deserve to be made aware of the progress (or lack therof) that the county is making, and the Superintendant's role is a major piece of that. Don't count on the MDJ to be the voice of the stakeholders, they are just trying to get people's attention with the headlines, it is up to all of us to get to the facts and be involved. I would say its a big red flag when the board wants to continue down this path of deceive and deny... Sweeney lacks the leadership needed to get this board to work together, this is just another example of that. I expected more from him as my board member. I would venture to say that SACS will be calling on the CCSD very soon.
JCB in Cobb County
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October 02, 2012
80% of MDJ readers (and presumably Cobb residents) believe Hinojosa's evaluation should be made public. The board needs to listen to the people and make the evaluation, all of it, public.

how naive
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October 08, 2012
It is only 80% of those that voted; not 80% of MDJ readers.

How incredibly funny and gullible the people of this county are.
Watcher...
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October 02, 2012
How can Cobb Taxpayers evaluate the CCSD Board if we cannot see their evaluation of Hinojosa?
I16
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October 02, 2012
Amen to that.
Jim Stoll
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October 02, 2012
How can one expect our elected school board to tell us what kind of a job Hinajosa is doing when they have yet to tell us the why's and wherefore's about his hiring, three days after the deadline for aplication submital had passed and after three hours of discussions with him. Anyone can tell how he is doing by looking at his record. He is in charge of directing the education of our kids. SAT test scores keep going down in eleven out of our sixteen High Schools and Hinajosa has yet to tell us if he has managed to "get his arms around" the educational process in the CCSD. He wants to continue to lay off dedicated teachers and hire newbees, just out of college, with non-teaching dipomas from TFA to replace them, after a six month boot camp. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how and what he is doing here. He's enjoying his half million dollar income from two sources while he trys to figure out how to teach our kids. He is throwing them under the bus. Imaging that!!!!
Watcher...
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October 02, 2012
Should Dr. Hinojosa's evaluation be made public?

At 10:12AM, 90% say YES!
Leon Smith
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October 02, 2012
YES! Especially due to his QUESTIONABLE past in Texas. I do not think he should have been selected in the first place. I'm concerned he will bring down our school system.
vtgrad
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October 02, 2012
For Mr.Banks to be so concerned about Board transparency is a joke, when he should be more concerned with his own behavior, (ethics violations, not adhering to protocol etc). The Cobb Co. School board should look at what the Marietta City schools gets right, and follow suit. With all going on in Clayton Co. right now with them at risk of losing their accreditation because of board member behavior, I would think Banks should be more concerened with that. Yes, transparency is a good thing, but walk the walk Mr. Banks.
Just Sayin'....
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October 02, 2012
Dr. Hinojosa is responsible for the county's single largest fiscal department, and since he is not elected, there should be opportunity for the people of Cobb County to have an idea of how he is performing. If he were an elected official we would have the opportunity to give a review at the polls every four years, but since that is not the case, I do believe it is in the interestd of the citizens of Cobb County to have access to atleast a summary of how the board feels he is doing. However, our board sees themselves as accountable to no one.
Just helping
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October 02, 2012
The writer of this article needs to learn that after the word "between" the objective pronoun "him" is the correct word, not "he."

Between him and the board. Between him. Between the board. Between him and the board.
An employer
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October 02, 2012
So this man's contract is up for renewal in January and the results of his evaluation are to remain secret? How can this be? We are paying his salary, why are we not allowed to know what his evaluation shows? This doesn't even make sense. All employers have the right to know the status of their employees and right now, Hinajosa is our employee. MDJ, keep on looking for the answers!
Transparency?
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October 02, 2012
Exactly what is Cobb trying to hide? Why doesn't Hinojosa just release the evaluation himself? He is the likely highest paid employee in Cobb County government, perhaps only second to County Manager Hankerson. Don't the taxpayers deserve to know about his job performance, given that his total compensation is about $300,000 a year?
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