An online news site is reporting that the president of the Jefferson County Teachers Association recruited a school board candidate, who the union later endorsed in order to secure the renewal of Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Sheldon Berman’s contract.
Last week, the teacher’s union announced its support for candidates in a number of area races, including the two contested seats on the Jefferson County school board. In the District 3 race, the union gave the nod to David Toborowsky, a well-known conservative activist who is challenging incumbent board president Debbie Wesslund.
According to Insider Louisville, however, JCTA President Brent McKim courted Toborowsky to run in part to guarantee Berman’s contract would be renewed.
From Insider Louisville:
Insider Louisville confirmed through multiple sources that McKim has bragged about recruiting Toborowsky. Steve Neal, retired JCTA executive director, confirmed that McKim made the claim to him.
After one conversation, Neal said, he told McKim that there could be ramifications: “I said, ‘Brent, if this gets out, it’s going to be horribly embarrassing. And he said, ‘Well, they’ll never find out.’ ”
Asked in an interview if McKim recruited him, Toborowsky said, “I wouldn’t use the word, ‘recruited.’”
McKim denies that he directly recruited Toborowsky to run against Wesslund
In a telephone interview, McKim once again denied the recruitment charge and told LEO Weekly the union has no position on Berman’s contract and that it played no role in their decision-making process.
In 2006, Wesslund received the coveted seal of approval from the teacher’s union, which spent over $100,000 promoting their support for her though independent expenditures.
When asked what has changed over the past four years, McKim said Wesslund’s lack of support for Jefferson County’s application for the Race for the Top initiative and her recent emphasis on test scores played the biggest role.
“There was concern from the recent superintendent’s evaluation that she focused more on test scores to a point it puts pressure on the whole system to test too much. We should be looking to our education programs more wholistically and not just overreact to test scores,” he says. “At a certain point it stops being about education and more about test craft. And that’s not the best learning environment for kids. We ought to be teaching about learning as a whole.”
Wesslund was unavailable for comment.