Archive for Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Meeting fuels Corkins speculation

November 21, 2006


A notice about a special state school board meeting set for Wednesday is continuing to fuel speculation that Education Commissioner Bob Corkins is on his way out the door.

However, none of the members of the Kansas State Board of Education contacted Monday night could say whether Corkins will lose his job at the meeting - or whether someone else will be hired to replace him before the new moderate majority takes control on Jan. 8.

Corkins, who was appointed by the board's conservative majority in October 2005, has been criticized by some legislators, many educators and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. That's because he was Kansas' first top school administrator in more than 80 years not to have served as a local superintendent first.

Corkins previously operated two small think tanks, lobbied against large increases in education funding and championed school voucher programs.

As commissioner, he led a reorganization of the department, creating a School Innovation Division, and has continued to support increasing the number of charter schools, which are freed from some state regulations to encourage innovation.

The special meeting, which will be done via telephone conference call, is being called to have a nonpublic executive session "to discuss nonelected personnel."

The call will originate at 3:30 p.m. in the board room of the State Education Building in Topeka.

Several board members who have discussed replacing Corkins said they had been calling each other to find out whether Corkins is the topic.

Janet Waugh, a Kansas City Democrat, said she had spoken with Bill Wagnon, a Topeka Democrat, and Sue Gamble, a moderate Republican from Shawnee, but none of them knew the nature of the executive session.

"I've gotten a call saying there is going to be one regarding nonelected personnel. But I don't have a clue," Waugh said.

Waugh said she hadn't been over to Corkins' office and thought he was still in his office Monday working on the board's December meeting agenda.

However, Waugh said that last week, after the board meeting, she had been told that Corkins' schedule had changed.

"It's my understanding that his appointments have been canceled and his law degree is down from the wall," Waugh said. "That was hanging on the wall, behind his desk."

Wagnon said he had no knowledge whether Corkins was moving out of his office, although he had heard "rumors to that effect."

Attempts to reach Corkins at his Lawrence home were unsuccessful Monday night.

Steve Abrams, the board's conservative Republican chair, also could not be reached.

And the board's vice chair, John Bacon, an Olathe conservative Republican, was tight-lipped about the nature of the executive session or whether it had anything to do with Corkins.

Bacon said he didn't know whether there would be a motion coming out of the executive session, where a formal vote could be taken.

Action could be taken if there were at least six members present and all would vote in the affirmative. It takes six votes on the 10-member board to approve a motion, Bacon said.

When asked whether Corkins had moved out of his office, Bacon dismissed it as hearsay.

He didn't know whether Corkins would be at the meeting.

"A lot of times, executive sessions are just the board members, or whoever we ask to be in the meeting," Bacon said.

Two conservatives on the board, Iris Van Meter, a Thayer Republican, and Connie Morris, a Republican from St. Francis, both said they had no knowledge about the nature of the executive session.

"We'll have to wait until the meeting Wednesday," Morris said.


werekoala 11 years, 5 months ago

Corkins needs to go. And people need to stop being appointed to high office based on who they agree with, rather than what they can do. This is the same BS that got us in trouble during Katrina and Iraq -

"you're doing a heckuva job, Corkie!"

Scott Tichenor 11 years, 5 months ago

Editorial error.

The two "small think tanks" Korkins ran were actually "one-man think tanks". In other words, well, you get it. Guess there's no need for him to dust off the resume, but bets are his mid six-figure income as Kommissioner is headed back down to the $30-40K the news reported he made prior to his appointment.

Korkins, Kline, Kongressman Ryun. Three reps this state is better off without. Just my opinion, but the state majority shares it. Remember dear red team, it took a lot of your folks voting blue to get to where we are.

road_to_nowhere 11 years, 5 months ago

Foster could never handle the duties of commish, he's just a weasel who finally had someone at the top to suck up too who was as clueless as him.

rhd99 11 years, 5 months ago

Corkins knows NOTHING about Kansas education. Anyone who thinks he is the best thing since sliced bread is fooling him/herself. Look at this loser. He has NO education experience as a teacher, coach, let alone, NO credentials as a PROVEN leader in education administration. He is a backstabbing LAWYER who argued against school funding. OUT with the trash & IN with someone who has FRESH ideas. Thanks to Corkins & that loser conservative majority on the Board of Education & their pollution, which is no more come January, Kansas has been the laughing stock of the nation, politically & on late night talk shows. Well, NO MORE!

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 11 years, 5 months ago

We don't want anyone in education to head the education department! So does your plumber tune your car? School adminstrators oversee and manage staff and operations, and they were former classroom teachers. I get sick and tired of everyone thinking that teachers are incompetent. Why don't you try teaching sometimes? I mean anyone can teach, can't they?

jayheel 11 years, 5 months ago

Wow nugget, you are really Klever with your interesting little misspellings. I'm surprised you didn't randomly bring up the city kommission just to go for the homerun.

The whole premise of this article is based on speculation. LJW, either get a scoop or wait until facts come out. Or print it in the opinion section where you can come right out and say what we all think: Sack Corkins.

rhd99 11 years, 5 months ago

dorothyhr, you're way off base, NOBODY was trashing the teachers, EVER in this message board. We are trashing the very poorest excuses of leaders in Kansas like CORKINS who make our state's education system look bad because of his pro-charter schools ANTI-public school funding rhetoric, not to mention the anti-evolutionists who have turned our great state into a base of endless late-night talk JOKES. TEACHERS, dorthyhr, thank you very much are the foundation of our education system. The brightest & most innovative teachers go on to be administrators of schools & school systems. So, the difference between CORKINS & the education professionals in Kansas, is that CORKINS NEVER TAUGHT our kids!

wheatridge 11 years, 5 months ago

Argued against school funding - Would that be the school funding that has produced the US school children who are at the top the class in the world outside the US?

rhd99 11 years, 5 months ago

Folks, I leave you with this: You all may NOT agree with everything that the current Lawrence Schools Superintendent, Randy Weseman, has tried to do to make Lawrence Schools among the best in this great country of ours. Some policies of his may be controversial, but, if given the choice between CORKY & Weseman, I hope seriously you all know who the obvious choice is for the education top job in Topeka. If you don't, then I feel sorry for you.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 11 years, 5 months ago

rhd99, I was responding to karma_king's comments above.

rhd99 11 years, 5 months ago

Dorothy, my apologies. OUT WITH CORKINS!

Wilbur_Nether 11 years, 5 months ago

Regardless of how Corkins got the job in the first place; regardless of whether he should have received the job in the first place; regardless of how attacked he has been.... Now that he's there, shouldn't he be judged on how successful he has been in running the Department rather than on any of those other issues?

Just seems to me like that would be, well, fair. And Kansans are a fair people, yes?

ASBESTOS 11 years, 5 months ago

"Now that he's there, shouldn't he be judged on how successful he has been in running the Department rather than on any of those other issues?"

THAT is the problem with Corky, all he seems to be able to do is chase off quality educational professionals from the DOE.

What success has he had?

What successes have come out of the KSDOE in the last 4 years that Corky has been at the helm?

ASBESTOS 11 years, 5 months ago

"Six of those KBOE members claimed to be "conservatives." Guess they weren't talking about "fiscal conservatives." Oh wait, this has been going on in Washington for six years, too. Sorry, my bad."

THat is a great call Agnostik!


AND another good catch:

"Now, I don't know about you, but that amount is kinda puzzling.


Why welch on the last five bucks? Why not just give 'em an even $2,000?

Could it be that "$2,000" is the amount at which certain reporting and recordkeeping requirements kick in?"

That is right, Campaign finance law is at $2000.

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