Archive for Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Corkins resigns as education commissioner

November 22, 2006

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— Following a closed-door meeting, the Kansas Board of Education accepted the resignation of Education Commmissioner Bob Corkins effective today.

On a 7-3 vote, the board accepted Corkins' resignation letter and provided him with a one-month severence package that includes salary and benefits. Board Chairman Steve Abrams said the severence package amounted to about $11,000.

The board also approved the appointment of Dale Dennis, deputy commissioner of finance, as the interim education commissioner.

Corkins submitted his letter to the board on Monday and Abrams said that Corkins has cleaned out his Topeka office. His letter was first made public today.

"My gratitude for the opportunity you've given me the past year has been profound and I have approached every day with a solemn respect for the duties of this role," Corkins wrote to the board. "Many substantial decisions were required during my term and I have not had a moment's regret over any. Much of my confidence has been due to sound counsel from my colleagues at the agency and to the positive influence of Chairman Abrams' wisdom."

"I like what he's done for education," Abrams said of Corkins.

The state board's conservative Republican majority, which hired Corkins, will end when moderate Republicans Sally Cauble, of Liberal, and Jana Shaver, of Independence, take their seats, giving the moderates a 6-4 majority.

Reaction to the news was swift from school board members and administrators in Lawrence.

"I'm assuming he saw the writing on the wall. It was probably a prudent move on his part," said Lawrence Schools Superintendent Randy Weseman.

"Well, I'm not surprised," said Lawrence board member Rich Minder. "The poor guy was in a tough spot, at the mercy of the board and the electorate. As I'm sure you know, I would have preferred the board hire someone who advocated more positively for funding public schools and someone who had more educational experience in the first place."

"His decision can get board members started looking for a new commissioner," said board member Craig Grant. "It's a positive as far as I'm concerned."

School board member Cindy Yulich said: "I guess I'm surprised he resigned but it's probably for the best. Now the board can move forward and do what's best for all the kids in Kansas."

Corkins' major focus has been on pushing for school vouchers and charter schools.

Corkins, an attorney from Lawrence, is Kansas' first top school administrator in more than 80 years not to have served as a local superintendent first. He 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.

Board member Janet Waugh of Kansas City said that with Corkins, "who is basically anti-schools," at the helm, the public image of the state's public education system had been hurt.

Comments

aeroscout17 9 years, 5 months ago

" 'I like what he's done for education,' Abrams said of Corkins. "

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Like what? BTW does anybody actually have the number of employees that have quit or resigned under Corkins' rule? I hear there were a number of them.

Sure wish I could get a job that didn't require any experience and had a salary larger than the governor's...

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"Many substantial decisions were required during my term and I have not had a moment's regret over any."

I'm guessing if Corkins had any experience in education he would have some regrets. One of the first things taught to educators is introspection. Somehow he missed that lesson; oh wait....

Finally, Marion; I think you are completely right (at least this time). It wasn't just the democratic party that won this time, it was the true conservatives (which I would probably be labeled as). Time to get rid of the "Christian Fundamentalists (Anti-inetelctuals)"; does that mean you voted demo (just curious)?

Frank Smith 9 years, 5 months ago

Corkins owed his job to two factors: The extreme religious ideology and pervasive dishonesty of the incumbent majority and his prior service to the twin paragons of greed: Charles and David Koch. At least there won't be time to sneak in some stealth Commissioner who might be harder to fire once the new, rational majority takes over.

That's a terrific severance package. I think it represented about five months' pay pre-Commission sinecure, for Corkins. One hopes he will take Larry Englebrink with him.

One hopes the new board majority will consider often-Acting Commissioner Dale Dennis, the glue that has held the Department together while the fundamentalist bomb-throwers tried to wreck it completely.

jayheel 9 years, 5 months ago

Ding dong the wretched waste is dead.

chapdaddy 9 years, 5 months ago

"Corkins, an attorney from Lawrence, is Kansas' first top school administrator in more than 80 years not to have served as a local superintendent first. He previously operated two small think tanks, lobbied against large increases in education funding and championed school voucher programs."

RED FLAG #1- No experience. RED FLAG #2- Lobbied AGAINST increases in education funding. Not willing to spend $ on already underfunded educations system.

Idiots.

This resignation comes not a moment to soon. You will NOT be missed, Bobby.

cowgomoo 9 years, 5 months ago

Posted by Marion (Marion Lynn) on November 22, 2006 at 8:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Christian Fundamentalists (Anti-inetelctuals)


OK, OK, I know that commenting on someone's spelling on a message board is lamer than lame, but you got to admit...trying to stereotypically flame a group for less than stellar intelligence and botching the spelling so bad is pretty darn funny.

BTW, just to comment substantively, I'm a Christian fundamentalist with three college degrees (even one from dear KU) and I was not in agreement with changing the secondary school standards on science. The debate should be played out in the labs, research fields and journals....not in the school board meetings.

Not the most intellectual observation made on these message boards....but I got the spelling right! :-)

cowgomoo 9 years, 5 months ago

It was just a good natured jab. I guess that plainly demonstrates the limitations of writing rather than talking face to face with a smile. Sorry if I offended you.

No harm intended, so simmer down now...simma dow na

BOE 9 years, 5 months ago

" 'I like what he's done for education,' Abrams said of Corkins. "

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Hear, hear! I'll second that.

rhd99 9 years, 5 months ago

TOLD YOU SO, BOB! Take a hike, LOSER! Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

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