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EBR Superintendent announces exit from district

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Posted: May 20, 2011 10:34 PM by Ashley Rodrigue
Updated: May 20, 2011 10:34 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: Baton Rouge, superintendent, district, exit, board, members, schools, Dilworth

BATON ROUGE- In East Baton Rouge Parish, the school system superintendent says he's leaving.

John Dilworth cites on-going issues with the school board, so he won't be back when his contract ends next summer. Now, the board has to hire a new one.

This is the second time Dilworth has parted ways with Baton Rouge schools. The first time, a year ago, he changed his mind. But Friday, he said a continuous clash of ideas and goals can't be calmed, so it's time to give the board a chance to pick someone that's on the same page.

"It has nothing to do with six new board members, or me being mistreated, or anything else," he said, "It's just I sense it's time for a new relationship and a new start for the district."

That's because the relationship Dilworth says he has with the board members, and that they have with each other, is not what's best for the district.

"This whole business to me is about relationships and people," said Dilworth, "Programs are good, but if the relationships and the people aren't there, you're not gonna be too successful."

While some board members acknowledge kinks in district development, others are surprised by the notion.

"We have differed on some things," said Board Vice President Tarvald Smith, "The closing of a school in my district and that I worked to help keep open, but I support his overall vision for the district."

"He's been great to work with and I respect his decision and obviously we have to do what we have to do," said Board Member David Tatman.

But teachers in the district say they're disappointed in the decision and blame the board for it.

"This has been, I would say, the most racially divided board I have seen," said East Baton Rouge Federation of Teachers Carnell Washington, "And this board does not allow the superintendent to be a superintendent."

Community partners with the district think it's neither a step back or a step forward, but a chance to possibly spark unity.

"The question is, is the board going to find an opportunity to align with community leadership and find what it is they are looking for as a strategy for the future of public education," said Baton Rouge Area Chamber President Adam Knapp.

Dilworth says he's not looking for another job and isn't sure if this is his final exit from education. The board will start the replacement process next week.

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