What Do Mike Miles’ Critics on the School Board Have in Common? Expense Reports.

I’ve made the case that the four Dallas ISD school board members aligned against Mike Miles – Lew Blackburn, Elizabeth Jones, Bernadette Nutall, and Carla Ranger – are odd bedfellows. IMHO, they each have very different reasons for wanting to run Miles out of town. If you want to hear what those are, as well as Jim and me talking about Brett Shipp and Mike Miles and lawyers and other DISD-y stuff, listen to the KNON show from this past Saturday.

But a perusal of the trustees’ recent expense reports  reveals a glaring similarity between the anti-Miles trustees: they spend WAY more DISD money than the other four trustees — combined, almost 19 times more in 2012-’13.

See the chart below: Last fiscal year, the fearsome foursome spent $31,549 between them, while the four pro-mile trustees spent $1670.38.

DISD expenses

This is not in any way illegal or unethical — board members can spend up to $10,000 a year for travel and professional development training, categories most of the expenses fall under – it’s just very spendy.

Of special interest to me are the conferences Elizabeth Jones attended on DISD’s dime. In June 2013 (which falls under last year’s budget), DISD paid for her to become a member ($675) of the National Association of Corporate Directors, as well as paid the costs to attend a conference for said organization. Total cost for attending was $5,152.48: registration ($3,950), lodging ($670.66), and airfare ($531.80). I had never heard of NACD, but this member testimonial from a Winn Dixie executive sums it up: “There is no better preparation for effectively serving on a Fortune 500 board than the timely articles and professional development courses offered by NACD.” Which is I guess maybe sorta relevant, I guess, maybe.

That’s nothing compared to what Jones expensed the next month (which falls into this year’s budget): All $10,000 of her yearly allowance for fiscal ’13-’14 was spent in July on a three-week course at the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executives in State and Local Government. Now that three-week course is certainly more relevant to her role as a school board member. I’m not saying it’s not. I’m just saying.



    Not sure why this is a big deal – DISD trustees don’t get paid to serve on the board. Mike Miles on the other hand draws a big salary for his efforts.

  • Bill Marvel

    I don’t have a dog to grind or an axe in this fight. But would you please explain to me what “I’m jut saying” mean? it sounds like you’re really saying exactly what you say you’re not saying. But I could be wrong. Then again, I’m probably not.

  • Holly Seeley

    Thanks for looking into this. I am always confused by the sensational WFAA article headlines about Miles. So I click on them to find out that he’s lost the favorite office paperweight or that he’s finished off the last bit of coffee in the lounge. I don’t know if he’s a good superintendent or not, but I don’t like being pandered to by Shipp.

  • R Blake

    Ranger, Blackburn, and Nutall all have current professional careers in education. It appears that they attend conferences that help them professionally and those conferences may help them as board members.

    Micciche is an attorney. Cowan is corporate revenue director for Omni Hotels and Resorts. Bingham is a retired teacher. Morath is a retired executive of a management information systems firm. Attending conferences does not help their professional careers.

    Jones clearly opted to use her $10,000 allowance to benefit her professional credentials. She’s a professor at UT Dallas and serves on various boards but it’s not clear which ones are paying gigs. She already updated her LinkedIn profile with her new DISD-funded credentials. She lists “National Association of Corporate Director Governance Fellow” under experience and “Director Professionalism, NACD” under certifications. The the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government is found under her education accomplishments.

    One could argue that DISD will benefit from Jones’s increased knowledge on corporate governance. Quite a stretch but it might work in theory. If Jones displayed any interest in taking a leadership role on the Board of Trustees, I might agree. But during the May 23rd board meeting, she was nominated for secretary and declined. Hopefully Jones joins Bruce Parrott in the “One-and-Done Club” because it doesn’t appear as if student achievement is her highest priority.

  • Eric Celeste

    IJS. I just think it’s funny. I have no idea what it means. Other than, as I said, they all spend a lot more than his proponents do.

  • Eric Celeste

    Not funny. Odd. I just think it’s odd. Words good with I no be.

  • Lara_Hurd12

    Since I started fre+lancing I’ve been bringing in $90 bucks/h… I sit at home and i am doing my work from my laptop. Th℮ best thing is that i get more time to spent with my family and with my kids and in the same time i can earn enough to support them… You can do it too. Start here—-


  • Disgusted in District 1

    @ Elizabeth Jones, For $100 you could have taken the following, possibly been a better trustee, and left $16K for much need items for the students.

    A few weeks ago, you bragged about bringing in Coggins, another waste of our dollars. Remember that the next time you attend a PTA fundraiser and see how hard the parents ARE working for our students.