John Wiley Price goes public with criticisms of DISD at board meeting

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on November 8, 2012 at 9:44 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 8 at 10:39 PM

DALLAS -- Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, under FBI investigation for alleged bribery and money laundering, took on a new role Thursday: critic of the Dallas Independent School District.

He said he's concerned about the direction of the district under new DISD Superintendent Mike Miles, who started last summer.

Price said he hasn't appeared before the school district in years, but felt the need to speak Thursday after the recent departure of two key executives and low teacher morale.

Commissioner Price isn't known for subtlety, and as he faced Miles and the school board, he didn't hold back.

"In four months, it appears as though everything is wrong with the Dallas Independent School District," Price said.

The county commissioner said he's concerned about the recent and sudden resignation of Assistant Superintendent Shirley Ison-Newsome, who worked for the district 37 years, and also Chief of Staff Alan King, who'd been praised by board members and who also quit without notice.

Price claims district employees are now terrified to speak out, and with longer work days for teachers, morale is dropping.

Over the years, Price hasn't been reluctant to criticize other local officials.

But does the FBI investigation dilute his clout now?

Price said voters settled that Tuesday.

"I think the investigation was going on, then the investigation was going on back in the Democratic primary, and I think I had something like 77 percent [of the vote], they've spoken," Price said.

Price has not been charged with a crime.

Miles and the board members didn't respond in the meeting to Price, and were unavailable to respond afterward, as their meeting went nonstop into the evening.

A district spokesman offered no comment.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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