Not Playing From The Same Sheet Of Music

Or it doesn't take an MBA to figure out Dr. Jenney wasn't qualified for job when the board hired him  and now taxpayers have to pay for his education

What does Dr. Timothy Jenney and the teachers in the Virginia Beach Public Schools have in common?

Not much, according to the latest round of school board votes for funding his return to a school of his choice for an MBA at a cost  to the taxpayers of $70,000. (Teachers would get only about $7272 for a similar degree).

By comparison, Old Dominion University’s MBA program for instate students is $202 per semester hour. Multiply that by 36 hours and you have an affordable and quality MBA for $7272. Makes sense. And also supports a local university. And doesn’t drain additional valuable tax dollars needed elsewhere, especially in the classrooms.

For about the same amount the school board is giving Dr. Jenney for his MBA, 10 teachers could receive their MBA and that would directly benefit our children. Jenney's doesn't.  There is only one pool of money for advanced degrees.  Jenney will be drawing his funds out of that.  When the fund is depleted, teachers will have to wait until next year for their financial support. In a nearly perfect world, it would be wonderful if all teachers, like speech pathologists and psychologists, were required to hold a masters degree to teach their subjects. In the future, this goal could be made as a condition of employment. This requirement and standard would further strengthen the role teachers play in public education, and accountability would surely rise in the eyes of the general public upon who the funding relies. Hopefully, so would the student results. The same standard applies to professional development days. All teachers draw from the same pool; when it’s empty, you must wait for the next fiscal year to apply for professional time off to further your career. When questioned, Chairman Edwards stated that Dr. Jenney will attend school on “Weekends, Fridays and Saturdays with the Fridays limited to the professional development days provided to teachers, beyond that he will use vacation.” School Board Chairman Dan Edwards went on to say that, ”The Superintendent's focus must be on the operation of the entire school division from curriculum and instruction to finance, transportation, food service, etc.

"Many large school divisions are hiring non-educator CEO to run their school divisions; our Board prefers an educator with an enhanced skill set for the business operations required to run a school division.”

Is Chairman Edwards suggesting that the school board originally hired a superintendent without the necessary requirements to oversee the system, and if so, is a refund in order for his past wages? If not, then would it not be reasonable to ask Dr. Jenney pay for his own MBA?

In essence, the citizens of Virginia Beach have hired a superintendent, and while paying top dollar, now must send him back to school at his request to make him qualified for a job that he was originally hired and being paid to do. Doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it certainly does follow the Virginia Beach management style.

The following question begs an answer: If Dr. Jenney must go back to school to complete requirements for his current job, why doesn’t he attend Old Dominion. It is just up Princess Anne Road from his office at the graduate center, and much more affordable. ODU’s certification and undergraduate degree for teaching in the Virginia Beach public schools seems to be in order.

Virginia Beach classrooms are filled with ODU degreed teachers, we have city council members with graduate and undergraduate degrees from ODU, why not the superintendent of schools? The school board should de-greed this proposal to accentuate the superintendent’s resume for his next job position, unless he is willing to attend a local university. Or pay for it himself.