DALLAS — News 8 is uncovering information that may shine a new spotlight on Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles and add momentum to calls for an outside investigation over a vendor contract.
Some board members say they just want an outside opinion about what's going on with this particular contract.
Other sources say Miles has quashed an internal investigation into the matter.
What seems certain is that a $200,000 contract is in limbo after one of Miles' top lieutenants blew the whistle and then suddenly resigned.
This past spring, DISD put out a request for proposals looking for a company to help educate parents and encourage involvement. The company selected by an internal committee to do that, according to district records, was Practical Parent Education of McKinney.
But on June 13, when board members were about to be briefed on the selection of Practical Parent Education, something happened.
Superintendent Mike Miles apparently changed his mind. His comments were recorded on a DISD camera and posted on the district's website.
"We would like to have the contract [unintelligible], the RFP [request for proposal], to where we select more than one person or group that can do this," Miles said. "And that's the only reason for bringing it back [to the board at a later time]."
The sudden reversal set off red flags with certain board members who sensed something irregular.
"This, to me, is unacceptable," said Trustee Bernadette Nutall during the June 13 meeting. "We don't have all the information here."
But the administrator who should have had the most information, Communications Department Director Rebecca Rodriguez, appeared on video to also be in the dark about the halting of the contract, even though she was the division chief in charge of signing off on it.
"I was informed this morning [June 13] that that this was going to be pulled [from the agenda],” Rodriguez said during the meeting. “We were going to add the old vendors who had provided RFPs.”
News 8 has learned that one day later, on June 14, after the contract approval was halted, Rodriguez took her concerns about possible policy violations to DISD internal investigators at the Office of Professional Responsibility.
Two weeks later, Rodriguez resigned from the district.
She becomes the seventh top deputy hired by Miles to resign in less than a year.
Sources tell News 8 the OPR investigation has yet to be approved by Superintendent Miles, who has ultimate authority over all investigations.
Board members have now been advised of Rodriguez’s concerns and are considering asking for an outside investigation by former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Paul Coggins, now in private practice. A vote on the matter could come Monday.
Miles was not available for a response on Wednesday, but spokesman Jon Dahlander provided this statement to News 8:
"The District routinely issues RFPs and takes them to the board for approval. Apparently trustees are seeking clarification surrounding one particular RFP. We do not anticipate any findings other than that routine procedures were followed."
At this point, neither Rodriguez nor any board members have agreed to an interview with News 8.
A partner with Practical Parent Education, which was recommended to get the contract, told News Eight by phone he is "in the dark" about what's going on, and finds the contract matter "very unusual.”
There is no word from DISD on when or if the contract will be back up for approval.