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Cobb school board hires new superintendent | News

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Cobb school board hires new superintendent
News, People, Schools
Cobb school board hires new superintendent

Cobb County, GA-- In a special called meeting Sunday afternoon, school board members unanimously approved the hiring of Dr. Michael Hinojosa as the new superintendent.

Notably absent was boardmember David Banks who said he planned to vote against his peers' choice.  He said he was unable to attend Sunday's meeting because he only found out about it on Wednesday and was already scheduled to be out of town.

As boardmembers voted a small group of critics held protest signs and jeered the decision.

"We will vote you out of office for doing this.  You're doing this under the table without any feedback from the community," chided Cobb County resident Joyce Schumacher.  

Critics point to Dr. Michael Hinojosa's tenure as superintendent of Dallas, Texas schools.  He has publically supported a bilingual curriculum, hiring hundreds of foreign teachers to fill spanish speaking positions and has reportedly run up a $100 million dollar debt.

Those are all issues Dr. Hinojosa openly addressed last week at two town hall meetings with Cobb County parents.

"When I was hired in 2005 we had 1,000 classrooms where we could not provide the services for students that were required by the state of Texas and Texas education code.  We looked internally. We looked over the state but there were very few qualified people.

Hinojosa ended up recruiting teachers from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain and South America. 

Cobb County Board Chair Alison Bartlett said Sunday after hiring Hinojosa that the board felt he had adequately explained that and the over spending in the Dallas system. 

"He has answered those questions several times within the community. He said he had a big learning experience in Dallas with the budget and won't repeat it.  That's all that we ask is that he continue to improve and identify issues we need to deal with," said Bartlett. 

Still there were some who left the brief special meeting unswayed.

"People of Texas are upset. He has used taxpayer money for junkets, extreme amounts, millions of dollars for travel which he cannot substantiate," said Cobb County resident Susan Stanton. 

Parent Pat Evans complained that the vote seemed too quick without enough vetting.

"We don't think he's the most highly qualified nor entirely scrupulous superintendent they've ever hired here," said Evans.

Keep in mind, a mere six years ago Cobb superintendent Joseph Redden resigned amid a scandal regarding a deal to purchase apple computers for every student. Investigators later called it deceptive.

Dr. Hinojosa begins his work in Cobb County July 1, 2011.  That's when he wraps up his current position in Dallas. He will have a two year contract, be paid an estimated $237,000 along with what the board describes as "fringes."

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