Some’s Hot, Some’s Not 04/10/13

School daze…….Although he is (mostly) a Republican and I am (mostly) a Democrat, besides the ambivalence about our  political beliefs, Joe Scarborough and I have one thing in common. Today, Tuesday, April 9 is both of our birthdays. Sadly, I noticed he had to do his “Morning Joe” TV show and I have to write this column.

I think it is funny that most of the people that former FBISD board member Lisa Rickert and her team fired at FBISD have now been rehired by FBISD if they want to be rehired. The latest is Charles Dupree about whom I have received anonymous critical emails about.

But let’s recap: When Lisa Rickert finally got a majority on the school board and an attack dog in the guise of Liz Mitton, at her first school board meeting, she arranged her election as president of the FBISD school board, and immediately at the meeting, in a show of trailer park manners, she relegated school superintendent Betty Baitland to the end of the table. When Baitland asked if she could wait until the break to move her things, Rickert said “No.”

With that one move, Rickert solidified the coterie against her and made up the minds of those straddling the fence. In that one move, she lost the rest of her term and the next election.

Although Dr. Baitland, who had come up through the ranks of FBISD and truly loved the district, offered to stay until a new superintendent as hired, her offer was refused and the little-experienced human resource assistant superintendent was appointed. The poor lady wasn’t even a very good HR person.

Her appointment accomplished one thing: it allowed Lisa Rickert to slowly dismantle FBISD as it was then.

A disgraced attorney was hired–an attorney who had his office at a Mail Box Etc. When I busted him on that, he rented an office from a Chinese lady attorney which I took a picture of and nobody really believed it was his office decorated in ornate faux Chinese style.

As a city council member or an employee of the city of Houston, he was caught several times absent without leave from his job–washing his car, taking his children to the Zoo, etc.

He immediately was charged with finding some legal dirt on Dr. Baitland and Dr. Dupree, the CFO she had promoted.

He found nothing, no matter how bad Liz Mitton  tried to make it sound in various blogs. In fact,  a famous line from the time was board member Stan Magee shouting, “Do you mean to tell me that’s all you can find!?!”

Baitland happily retired,  spending a lot of time with her grandchildren at the beach and Lisa and Liz both lost their next elections amid large vote margins and many tears and much gnashing of tears.

So that’s how we got Tim Jenney. I suspect there weren’t many qualified applicants after word got out about FBISD.

I notice that Lisa Rickert may be trying to make a  comeback as I’ve seen her out and about a various events.

School daze again……Then another story that is about one to two years old but has surfaced in another local weekly paper that, I guess, has nothing else to print.

The story is all about former FBISD Superintendent Raj Chopra who eventually left here, but not after the board had given him a sweet contract and four years later a sweet deal to leave.

Among other things, Dr. Chopra was given a contract that called for FBISD to pay for his house back in Kansas until it sold. Of course, it wasn’t going to sell very soon as his older children were still living in it to go to college. He eventually sold it for much more than he told the board it would sell for. He never told the school board any different.

He was given a huge car allowance, a large “entertainment” budget, a membership in the local country club with  monthly dues paid, an expense account, and a payment of his house in Fort Bend among other things. When we criticized this, we were told that most executives were given these perks in private companies and the school district had to compete.

Then besides all this, he was fired before his programs really had a chance to work, although he greatly reduced administrative jobs and brought up test scores. He was sent off with  a nice severance package.

Interestingly, these same criticisms were lodged at him some 10 years later in his new school district,  proving once again that a tiger doesn’t change his spots. (Yes, I know it’s stripes. I’m trying to be funny, but I don’t want you to think I’m simply stupid.)

At Southwestern  College, where Dr. Chopra was superintendent,  his contract called for him to receive a salary of $204,000. In addition to his salary, he had an automobile allowance of $1,000 a month, an entertainment allowance of $14,000 a year, and a housing allowance of $28,000 a year.

He resigned in November  2010, and  received the equivalent of six months’ base salary.

Since he was indicted with many other school officials from other districts at the same time in 2012, I have searched the web for additional news only to come up dry. I have a feeling the charges have been quietly dismissed. At the time he was reported to be in Texas suffering from depression. Wanna bet it’s in Fort Bend?

More school daze…..In other school news,  State Rep. Rick (Dana) Miller was the only member of the Fort Bend delegation to vote for the school vouchers which are reportedly dead in the water.

I called Commissioner James Patterson to chide him for supporting Miller and he told me he didn’t support any candidate because as a County commissioner, he has to work with whoever wins. That’s not what jacquie Baly and her friends think.

I believe Patterson but I know for a fact that Miller told former school board president Sonal Buchar that he did not support vouchers. Since State Senator Dan Patrick  was his big buddy you would have to be pretty stupid to believe that he would actually vote against vouchers.

Next…..It seems I am an international star after all. The following is an email I received from Ireland:

“Hi Bev, Just watched you on Irish TV. Charlene Hill murder trial. Just wanted  to say well done. You came across a strong, fine women. If you’re ever in Ireland, you can stay with me.  Not a big house, but house that has loads of fun and love.

Well done again,
Ellie”

I’m a little nervous that Ellie might be like that French model on the TV ad.

B.K. Carter is the owner/publisher of the Fort Bend/Southwest Star. She can be reached at beverly@fortbendstar.com.

Follow Bev on Twitter. Search for BevsBurner.

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