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Scales hands over School Board evaluations

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Dr. Jim Scales Dr. Jim Scales

By David Carroll

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- It took four days, and a series of requests, but Hamilton County Superintendent Dr. Jim Scales turned over the individual School Board evaluations of his work Monday afternoon.

How effective is Dr. Scales?  According to some Board members, he's highly effective.  Others say just the opposite.

In seven different categories, ranging from his professional relationships to his personal qualities, Dr. Scales gets "standard to above standard" scores, basically in the middle of the scoring chart.  if he was a student, he would get a "C" in most categories.  

Again this year, his highest marks are in attire and grooming, his energy, and his personal qualities.  On the other hand, his relationship with the School Board is lacking.  District 2 representative Chip Baker, says some Board members share the blame.

Baker said, "Well, you want to work as one. And when it comes to that, we're not as good as we could be. You can have a diversity of opinions, but some on the Board could make a better effort working with Dr. Scales.  He will meet with any of them at any time, but some of them refuse to do that."

Janice Boydston, who did not run for another term from District 6 had the highest praise for the superintendent, saying "Dr. Scales is a fine ethical man.  I'm proud to work with him."

District 3 representative Everett Fairchild, recently re-elected to a four-year term, gave Dr. Scales a mixed review, saying, "He depends too much on someone else to make decisions."

Some Board members also brought up the need for more harmony among the superintendent's leadership team,  and the need to make better use of the District's financial resources.

Although it's widely believed Dr. Scales will not ask for, or receive a new contract when his current one expires, District 4 representative George Ricks wouldn't mind if he did, saying "Dr. Scales has good judgment, poise and is an excellent dresser."

Rhonda Thurman of District 1 remains the superintendent's most outspoken critic, saying "Dr. Scales rarely speaks to the community.  He speaks through his communications director (Danielle Clark)."

District 9 representative Chester Bankston, also a frequent critic of Dr. Scales,  told Chairman Kenny Smith that he would not fill out an evaluation form this year, and did not turn one in.  Bankston told Smith, "It doesn't do any good.  I've filled them out before, and they don't do anything."

Scales' contract expires on June 30, 2012.  Baker, who helped arrange Scales' controversial four year contract in 2008 (two years before his original deal expired) said he's inclined to begin searching for a new leader "in about a year, which would be about nine months before Dr. Scales' contract is up."  Several Board members, including some newly elected members have stated publicly their desire for a local candidate to replace Dr. Scales.

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