After marathon meeting, School Board shouldn’t pick superintendent when Miami is sleeping | Editorial

·2 min read
MATIAS J. OCNER/mocner@miamiherald.com

The Miami-Dade County School Board has already rushed the process to pick a new superintendent to replace Alberto Carvalho — to the community’s dismay. The Board’s nine members shouldn’t make things worse by making a late-night decision when parents are putting their children to sleep, and regular citizens cannot follow and scrutinize what happens.

The board is meeting Tuesday to interview three candidates picked from a list of 14 applicants. As of 7:25 p.m. they had been going on for five hours and counting — and not all finalists had been heard. Only former district executive Jose Dotres and New York City Department of Education veteran Rafaela Espinal had been interviewed. Jacob Oliva, senior chancellor for the Florida Department of Education, still was waiting for his turn.

In the words of Board Chair Perla Tabares Hantman, “It’s been a long day.”

Indeed, and by the time the board is done, not only will board members be exhausted, the public will be, too.

The meeting started at 2 p.m. Scheduling a middle-of-the-afternoon discussion on such a crucial topic, when many working parents, students and teachers are out of pocket, was already a bad move. Luckily, some members of the public — many of them part of community organizations — were there in person to speak. Many rightly criticized the hasty selection process that gave candidates only seven days to apply for the job.

The Board should pay attention to that criticism and show they have learned from their mistake. How can the nine members make a sound decision after this marathon meeting, without being able to verify what the candidates said or call them individually to ask follow-up questions?

They can’t.

Miami-Dade doesn’t need to wake up Tuesday morning to the news that the School Board chose who will lead the fourth-largest school district in the nation in an after-hours vote. Let’s all sleep on it, instead.