Letter: Superintendent problems started with the paper

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Now that former Superintendent Donald Smith has resigned and the Marion County Board of Education (MCBE) has had its way, it’s time to give credit where credit it due. The staff of The Lebanon Enterprise earn a blue ribbon for the inadequate reporting that began the downward spiral against Mr. Smith when he was first hired. The article that appeared in the April 29, 2009, issue of the paper titled “Smith Makes History” basically said that Mr. Smith set a record for being the first black man hired as a superintendent of schools in the state. It did not give an explanation of why Mr. Smith was chosen over any of the other candidates. The article was interpreted by the public as meaning that Mr. Smith was hired because he is black.

Somewhere in the mix it became impossible to tell who was questioning the process of hiring the superintendent and who was just a racist. The rhetoric soon degraded to Mr. Smith being unqualified, less qualified, a liar, untrustworthy, directly responsible for failing schools, driving an unauthorized vehicle, and not living in Marion County. As the smoke clears, only the last one has been substantiated. School board member Ed Hacker has stated that he believes the superintendent living outside of the county adversely affects the education of our children. The board then created the same situation by hiring an interim superintendent from outside the county.

The actions of the MCBE testify that Mr. Smith’s address was a smoke screen and not a real issue. Some teachers and administrators didn’t like Mr. Smith being here because it meant that they would have to do their own jobs instead of pushing it off on parents and calling it homework. Whatever you want to call what has transpired in this community against Mr. Smith, the MCBE owns it! The MCBE is now tainted with corruption, racism, and hidden agendas.

Marion County has been made to look like at bunch of backwoods hicks. The MCBE does not have the credibility to meet behind closed doors and choose a replacement for Mr. Smith. The only redemption for Marion County is to recall every member of the school board at the first opportunity.

Dennis Yaste