Jim Schutze roasts and toasts DISD Supt. Michael Hinojosa in the recent Dallas Observer over the never-ending credit card scandal. I haven’t followed this deal as closely as Jim has, so I can’t comment on most of what Jim has to say, which generally follows the lines of: "Maybe Hinojosa didn’t initiate the program, but he didn’t do anything about it except scapegoat a district employee who didn’t deserve it." Again, I have no comment on that.

My question goes to whether it’s even possible for DISD to avoid this type of scandal in the future. Realistically (not ideally, but realistically), can a politically-charged public entity with 160,000 students and 228 campuses and 20,000 employees ever really function like a well-oiled business? Look at what happened a week or two ago: Hinojosa announces a dramatic restructuring of the central administration and winds up with 7 layers of administration instead of 11. I was talking with the leader of one of the neighborhood’s major corporations a few days later (this guy is a DISD supporter, too), and he said: "There are only 4 levels of supervision separating me from the guy who changes light bulbs here, and I know the guy to call if a light bulb needs to be changed anyway." Chances are excellent that, for better or worse, Hinojosa had never even heard of most, if not all, of the people involved in the credit card problem, simply because the school district is just too darn big.

I’ve mentioned this before, but DISD needs to be broken into more manageable parts, 4-6 separate districts based on geography (and nothing else) with separate operating budgets, separate administration and separate accountability. Hinojosa is in a no-win situation in so many ways; even if he wanted to be accountable (which he does, I believe), I don’t know if it’s possible the way DISD is set up now. And the politics of changing what we have to something more functional…

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