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The Dripby Fern Shen3:43 pmSep 12, 20120

Principals’ union protests at North Avenue

Above: Administrators’ union chief Jimmy Gittings and others yesterday outside city schools headquarters.

About two dozen people joined the head of the school administrators’ union in a demonstration outside Baltimore city school headquarters yesterday, protesting the school board’s recent decision to fire one principal and not reinstate another until 2013.

“No oversight, no integrity, no accountability,” said one sign. “Protect our children, not Dr. Alonso,” said the placard held by Jimmy Gittings, president of the local chapter of the Principals and School Administrators’ Association.

The group was protesting the board’s Aug. 27 vote to dismiss Marcy Issac, assistant principal at Abbottston Elementary, for her role in alleged cheating at the school in 2009, and to reinstate Principal Angela Faltz but without back pay and not until 2013. Protesters included retired administrators and the two principals’  family members.

The union has for months been waging a legal battle with city schools CEO Andres Alonso over his decision to hold the two principals responsible for alleged testing improprieties and falling Maryland School Assessment scores at Abbottson.

In May, two independent hearing officers hired by the Board of School Commissioners had determined that the Board’s investigation into the cheating at Abbottson had been flawed. The officers recommended that Isaac and Faltz be reinstated with back pay. The Board’s vote in August essentially reversed the hearing officers’ recommendation.

“We won our case. The hearing officers said Dr. Alonso’s decision had been capricious and the principal and assistant principal should be reinstated,” Gittings said, adding that the union will continue to pursue its legal battle on behalf of the principals and may next appeal to the the state Board of Education.

Earlier conflict between Alonso and the administrators focused on charges that Alonso was demoting 15 principals for arbitrary and vindictive reasons, including the allegations of cheating for which investigators could find no evidence.

Board members have largely remained mum on the subject, noting that they do not comment on personnel matters, as has Alonso. He also told the Sun last month that his personnel decision are based on a variety of factors, including events that transpired in the school over the year and school data.

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