First off, we don’t have anything against Sheldon Berman, the superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools. We’ve got kids in the system and believe they’re getting a pretty good education.
While we’ve been critical of decisions that Berman’s made, such as the system’s handling of PRP High School football coach Jason Stinson, just as often we’ve agreed with him, like the time he took on the teachers union when he wanted to get rid of some mediocre teachers.
To us, it seemed like his handling of budget shortfalls and the potential ramifications for employees was exemplary.
But we can’t ignore the facts that have been turned up over at Page One. Today’s news is that Berman sits on a Board for a company that is a vendor for JCPS, a clear violation of law. It’s not that we think he’s getting any sort of financial advantage (though he certainly could be) but allowing the contract with VHS Inc. to go forward is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed.
Yesterday, Page One pointed out that Berman has refused to resign from the Board of a Massachusetts company called the Center for Applied Science Technologies. That company has a learning program Berman is pushing for adoption here.
So, really, we don’t care about Berman’s divorce or if he’s spending his free time jogging with Natalie Stiglitz, or even if he’s helping her find a new job.
But these conflicts of interest cast a shadow over his leadership of the system.