Dallas ISD board discusses emergency authority for superintendent during pandemic

The 2019-2020 school year is basically over, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. But school administrators at Dallas ISD have a lot of tough decisions ahead of them.

A lot of what happened at the school board meeting Thursday was procedural, officially voting on changes because of the pandemic. But as seen with other governing bodies in the pandemic, school board members expressed concerns about giving the superintendent too much power.

Board members discussed allowing Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa to be able to make purchases essentially without looping in all the school board members during this time of emergency. It would be an extension through September 1 of what has already been happening since COVID-19 hit.

At least one board member, Joyce Foreman, was hesitant about giving the superintendent that power moving forward. She did not want to relinquish deciding power, saying they’ve done that before and Dr. Hinojosa has made decisions they don’t agree with.

The board also discussed waiving things like annual employee training and professional development and certain policies that the district has been unable to follow because of the pandemic.

Dallas ISD Trustee Dustin Marshall felt it did not give too much power away.

“All extreme administrative minutia, they are not broad, sweeping discretionary powers that would be granted to the administration,” he said.

Ultimately, the school board decided to allow the superintendent that power to make emergency purchases without following normal policies.

They also discussed asking the Texas Education Agency for a missed school day waiver that would excuse absences in may because of COVID-19.