Keep Covington as superintendent
Kansas City School Superintendent John Covington’s abrupt resignation at the start of a school year is grossly unfair to Kansas City and its schoolchildren.
Covington must be transparent about his reasons for wanting to leave the job he’s held since May 2009. And the school board and the city’s leaders must do all they can to resolve the problems and convince the superintendent to change his mind.
Covington shocked everyone Wednesday night by telling the school board in closed session that he was leaving. Indications are he has knocked heads with board president Airick Leonard West. Board member Arthur Benson, the board’s strongest member, resigned immediately after Covington disclosed his intentions.
Both resignations, if accepted, would be devastating to the district’s prospects. Covington’s leadership is essential to carrying on with the sweeping educational reforms he started last year.
By resigning now, for so-far-unstated reasons, Covington would break faith with a community that stood behind him and his dramatic agenda to close schools, reassign students and teachers, downsize the staff and introduce a new method of teaching and learning in the classrooms.
Board interference has certainly been a problem in the school district in the past, and Covington has publicly indicated that he thinks West has tried to meddle in the superintendent’s responsibilities.
If that is the problem, then the superintendent and board president should seek a way to mediate their differences. Covington’s departure now would seriously threaten the school district’s accreditation status. The city and its students deserve better from the adults.