Dear Alan, Dear Shirley

Alan King is Interim Superintendent of DISD. Shirley Ison-Newsome is, well, Shirley.

This commentary is about a 2 sentence email sent by Alan King to Shirley Ison-Newsome--emails that are the subject of another investigative report on WFAA Channel 8 tonight.

After the story broke, in February, about DISD's questionable use of over $57,000 (much of it Federal funds) to take 5th grade boys to see a Hollywood action film, the emails started flying.

Let's back up. There were a ton of emails leading up to the "outing" on February 9, but we're interested in this one:

That doesn't make sense yet, does it? It will in a moment.

Actually, let's let that simmer and go back to Shirley.

Shirley Ison-Newsome has been described, by some, as brilliant but stubborn. She puts the kids first but when she gets her mind made up about doing something, there's little chance of changing it. She believes in spending lots of money on the kids even if she makes mistakes, sometimes, along the way. Could this be close?

I am wonder if the answer is even simpler.

Maybe Shirley just never met a dollar she didn't like to spend.

Back during the DISD procurement card scandal (the database is still online, but you'll have to log in), Shirley was found to have spent almost a quarter of a million dollars on her two cards.

She bought things like art, gift cards, trinkets, novelties, food, clothing, groceries, took trips--and much more. She was queen of the giveaways and "incentives."

$57,000 is nothing, you see because there is plenty more where that came from. Am I on the right track?

Throughout all the emails leading up to the Red Tails outing, Shirley asked "can we" do it. I never once saw her once ask "should we" do it.

Before we get back to Alan's little tagline, let's put things back into perspective:

  • Shirley Ison-Newsome spent $57,000 to take a bunch of 5th grade boys to see an action movie
  • She excluded all the girls from the outing
  • Title I funds were used (for which the District is now under Federal and State investigation)

Why these words from Alan?

It's because Shirley wrote an email that talked about how "distressed" she was when she found out that one school "canceled the trip because of all of the hulabalu (sp?) in the press."

So that was Alan's response.

Alan wasn't concerned with the decision.

Alan was only concerned about the criticism.

This, folks, is our senior DISD leadership.