by Natalie Allen | staff writer

NEISD Superintendent officially announced his retirement this week at a press conference in the boardroom, verifying that he will leave his post at the end of his 2011 contract.

“I will be here to solve the most pressing issues for the next several months that will get to the budget and the biennium but, after that, it’s going to require a number of years before any of these [have] solutions…That is going to take somebody to be here, because I wasn’t going to be here much longer any ways,” Middleton said.

He expressed to everyone in attendance, that his replacement would be up to his school board to decide on and that he is confident that they will choose a person worthy of the position. He was planning on retiring in May before the budget situation but he wanted to let everyone know of his departure before the dilemma had exacerbated.

“Now is an opportunity for the board to have time to find a new leader. Every leader needs to have the gift to accept the vision, to solve problems, and then they also know when it’s time for the next leader to come along. I think one of the greatest gifts that I can give this district is the opportunity to find a new leader with enough time. Let’s get somebody in here. Let’s get somebody with a new set of directions.”

Dr. Middleton is adamant about the continuing of the creation of new revenue instead of cutting funds for courses, jobs, and establishments.

“What you are hearing from people like the governer is that, ‘No, the problem really is you got to cut your spending.” What we are saying is that if you cut spending in a district like ours, you’re cutting things we do for children. Your making class sizes go up, your cutting opportunies like journalism, like athletics, like music, like fine arts. If you lost 17% of our budget, this whole [Central Office building] is 3% of our budget. So, that is 14% more that you have to come up with. That’s when it impacts teachers and it impacts students….You can’t reduce enough to come up with what you need. You need new revenue.”

The lawsuit that is in formation against Texas legislation for lack of school funding is predicted to really be set in motion in 2013. The problem is that the district will need evidece that there is definitely  an economic crisis and there is a desperate need for extra finances.

“When the state came in with a program called the Texas Prediction Method, TPM, it raised scores all over the state. Even though kids failed, the state gave credit to schools in school districts for passing. So they are basically predicting that you will win. What happened was when a district went to court and said I’m in trouble and I need money, they are going to look around and say, ‘what’s wrong?  Your scores are fine. In fact you can do more with less.’”

While the current economic conditions will need to be addressed immediately, Middleton does believe that it is time for a fresh set of eyes to assess the situation.

“This is why I’ve decided it’s time to go now and give a new leader time to move into this. This problem isn’t going to be solved by May. It’s really the end of the beginning. Our next problem is going to start and here we go.”

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I am a senior at Johnson High School and I am one of the Arts & Entertainment editors for our online publication staff. SAIL: AWOLNATION.

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