, Port Arthur, Texas


November 13, 2012

Hearing concerning superintendent should be held in light of day

PORT ARTHUR — The superintendent of schools in Port Arthur holds a position of public trust that affects virtually everyone in the city, from school children to their parents, to the school staff to the taxpayers. The community has a right to know the status of Superintendent Johnny E. Brown.

A few lines on the agenda of Tuesday’s regular November meeting of the Port Arthur Independent School District board of trustees is the most information anyone from the district has given to date about the superintendent’s curious absence from his duties.

The agenda says the board will, in closed session, “Consider Personnel Matters covered under section 551.074.

1. To deliberate the performance, evaluation and job duties of the Superintendent of Schools.”

Brown attended the board meeting Thursday, Oct. 25, but has not been at work since then. No one from the district, including attorney Melody Chappel, will say why. Assistant Superintendent Mark Porterie has only confirmed that the superintendent was not at work and said Brown was not suspended pending an undisclosed investigation.

We are now beginning the third week with no explanation of why the superintendent is not fulfilling his duties. The people who fund the district and whose children it educates have a right to know what is going on with the people they have entrusted to run the district.

In the absence of facts, rumor and innuendo will fill the void. The board is scheduled to conduct its deliberation in closed session, but the same section of the education code cited on the agenda also says the hearing can be open if the officer or employee who is the subject of the deliberation or hearing requests a public hearing. We hope Dr. Brown agrees with us that the hearing should be open to PAISD patrons and that he requests the hearing be held in the light of day.


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