School & District Management

Dallas Board Tables Gonzalez’s Resignation

By Bess Keller — September 24, 1997 2 min read

A day after the sudden announcement by Superintendent Yvonne Gonzalez that she had turned in her resignation, the Dallas school board decided last week not to accept it, buying time instead with a 30-day paid suspension.

The 6-3 vote at the Sept. 17 meeting put the board’s one Hispanic and five white members at odds with the three black members, who were ready for Ms. Gonzalez to go.

The superintendent’s suspension almost certainly guarantees more turmoil in the top ranks of the district, which has been shaken in recent months by racial politics, investigations of mismanagement, and indictments on corruption charges. (“7 Dallas Employees Suspended in Suspected Fraud,” June 4, 1997.)

But it also signals the board’s desire to let the corruption investigation Ms. Gonzalez launched in March proceed further.

Yvonne Gonzalez

“Dr. Gonzalez is doing her job as superintendent to get to the bottom of the conflicting information,” said school board member Lois Parrott, who voted for the suspension and expressed confidence in the superintendent. “In the future, we will understand why this situation occurred.”

Ms. Parrott said day-to-day operations would be assumed by Associate Superintendent Robert Payton, the district’s highest-ranking African-American administrator.

Ms. Gonzalez had tearfully offered her resignation the day before the board’s vote, saying she was “extremely concerned” about the effect a lawsuit against her would have on “this fine district and this fine city.”

Sexual Harassment Charged

In the suit, the district’s finance chief, Matthew Harden Jr., accused the superintendent of sexually harassing him and of seeking to bolster her power by ruining the careers of dozens of employees. He made public three suggestive notes she allegedly wrote him and the transcript of a recorded conversation he said showed her spiteful management practices.

Ms. Gonzalez countered that Mr. Harden was trying to derail her continuing investigation into overtime fraud and other corruption in the division he heads. A federal probe spurred by the district’s investigation resulted last month in the indictment of 13 former and current employees.

According to local news accounts, Mr. Harden agreed to drop the lawsuit if Ms. Gonzalez resigned, but instead filed additional allegations in state court because he was unhappy with her resignation announcement. Attempts late last week to reach Mr. Harden and Ms. Gonzalez for comment were unsuccessful.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Ms. Gonzalez filed her own suit against Mr. Harden the day after her resignation, accusing him of breach of contract. She has denied his accusations.

Costly Renovations

In recent weeks, the two administrators have also been embroiled in a dispute over the cost of renovations to the superintendent’s office suite, which were reportedly several times greater than the $12,000 initially claimed by Ms. Gonzalez.

Last week’s marathon school board meeting at the district’s headquarters drew hundreds of people in support of Ms. Gonzalez, many of them Hispanic. They urged the board to decline her resignation.

But some black leaders renewed a call for Ms. Gonzalez’s departure. They have long argued that her investigations and administrative shake-ups have unfairly targeted African-Americans.

Ms. Gonzalez, formerly the district’s second-in-command, was appointed to the top job eight months ago over the protests of the board’s three black members.

Related Tags:


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Safe Return to Schools is Possible with Testing
We are edging closer to a nationwide return to in-person learning in the fall. However, vaccinations alone will not get us through this. Young children not being able to vaccinate, the spread of new and
Content provided by BD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
Meeting the Moment: Accelerating Equitable Recovery and Transformative Change
Educators are deciding how best to re-establish routines such as everyday attendance, rebuild the relationships for resilient school communities, and center teaching and learning to consciously prioritize protecting the health and overall well-being of students
Content provided by Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Addressing Learning Loss: What Schools Need to Accelerate Reading Instruction in K-3
When K-3 students return to classrooms this fall, there will be huge gaps in foundational reading skills. Does your school or district need a plan to address learning loss and accelerate student growth? In this
Content provided by PDX Reading

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion COVID-19 Ripped Through Our Emotional Safety Net. Here’s How My District Responded
Three years after overhauling its approach to student mental health, one California district found itself facing a new crisis.
Jonathan Cooper
2 min read
A young man stands under a street light on a lonely road.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images
School & District Management Opinion Students Need Better Connections. To Wi-Fi, Yes, But Also to Teachers
We have to fix our digital divide, but let’s not lose sight of the relationship divide, writes one superintendent.
Susan Enfield
2 min read
A teacher checks in on a remote student.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images
School & District Management Opinion Superintendents Have Weathered a Lot of Vitriol This Year. What Have We Learned?
The pandemic turned district leaders into pioneers, writes one superintendent. We had to band together to make it through.
Matthew Montgomery
2 min read
A person walks from a vast empty space towards a team of people.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images
School & District Management Opinion Critics Complain My District Doesn’t Really Need Relief Aid. If They Only Knew…
District expenditures have ballooned in the pandemic, but many critics expect the opposite. How can leaders set the record straight?
Theresa Rouse
2 min read
A business person convinces colleagues by presenting a plan.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images