Hinojosa told the board at a meeting earlier this month he wanted to move home to Dallas, Texas, to be with family, and couldn’t wait to serve out the remainder of his contract, which expires Dec. 31, 2014.
The board obliged Hinojosa’s wishes to leave his post seven months early, on May 31, because it was the date he requested to leave.
“That was the date he asked for and that was the date we considered,” board member Randy Scamihorn said.
Board member Scott Sweeney suggested the board vote to accept Hinojosa’s resignation, and the board voted 6-0 to accept it. Board member Tim Stultz was absent, as he left after the closed-door meeting to return to his day job.
“We need somebody in the decision-making role until the interim or the next superintendent comes in. Somebody has to sign the paychecks,” Scamihorn said.
Hinojosa said he accepted a job with a Chicago-based education consulting firm last week, which will allow him to work from home in Dallas after he leaves Cobb.
Hinojosa came to Cobb in June 2009 after serving as superintendent for the Dallas Independent School District.
Moving forward, the board is not yet certain what steps they will be taking in securing a new leader for Cobb’s school system.
Discussions began Wednesday as to what direction the board wanted to take in finding a
replacement. Topics included where the board would look to find an interim, who the interim would be and where the next superintendent might come from, said Chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci.
Details of these discussions could not be revealed to the public, board members said, because they had yet to decide anything.
“We haven’t coalesced all of that yet,” Scamihorn said.
It is expected the board will at some point name an interim superintendent, who will be ready to hit the ground running as soon as Hinojosa steps aside, Scamihorn said, although it was not certain how long the search process for a new superintendent would last.
Scamihorn said he had received multiple e-mails and phone calls from parents and community leaders with suggestions as to who they believe should fill Hinojosa’s seat, but Scamihorn would not name any names.
The priority of the board was to find someone to run the school district as soon as possible, board members said.
“Someone to keep the ship moving while we are looking for a permanent superintendent,” Scamihorn said.
Mum on allegations against central staff
Most board members declined to comment Wednesday on recent allegations against central office staff members, citing legal issues.
The MDJ reported Feb. 5 the former top criminal investigator for the school system, Mary Finlayson, had written a letter to Hinojosa last August listing a host of alleged abuses including racial hiring practices and the use of a teacher’s time to help administrators work on their doctoral dissertations.
“We don’t comment on personnel issues,” Scamihorn said.
Angelucci said the board had discussed the allegations and was still in the process of requesting relevant documentation from central office staff and investigating the claims.
“We are doing our due diligence,” she said.
Scamihorn said the board was looking into the “issues,” and felt Hinojosa should be doing the same thing.
“Those kind of issues fall under the superintendent’s purview and responsibilities. Unless he reports otherwise, I assume all issues are being addressed and resolved,” Scamihorn said.
When asked about his investigation, Hinojosa did not comment.
“I don’t comment on any personnel matters,” Hinojosa said.
David Banks confirmed the board had discussed the allegations but dismissed them as not substantive.
“It was discussed. From my perspective, there’s nothing to it,” Banks said.