KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The superintendent of Kansas City public schools wants out. Dr. John Covington stunned school board members with his resignation Wednesday night. However, no one was more shocked or hurt than parents.
At the beginning of the district school board meeting, board president Airick West announced to a crowd of parents, teachers, staff, and patrons Dr. Covington’s desire.
“It is with regret that the board of directors announces that it has received, though not accepted, the resignation of Dr. John Covington.,” West said. “While this comes as some surprise to the board, it is our intention to move thoughtfully through the days ahead to ascertain how best we can continue the momentum we have gain in these past two remarkable years. We don't have all the answers. What we do know is that we continue have a job to do that involves the well-being of the 17,000 scholars who call our classrooms home every single day.”
Offering no further explanation or detail, West said more than the man resigning. It left parents with plenty of questions for Dr. Covington.
“Why,” asked Linda Camara, a parent. “How soon? Why didn't you give anybody notice? Why didn't you talk to anybody? You can't just walk out on 11,000 kids. He closed 27 schools last year, turned everybody upside down, and then just said, okay I'm done see ya?”
"I was pretty surprised,” said Spark Bookhart, another parent. “I didn't expect such an abrupt resignation. That was surprising, particularly because of the right-sizing program and how it did a lot to disrupt the district."
District sources told NBC Action News there was friction between Dr. Covington and at least one school board member. Just Friday, Dr. Covington helped broker a tentative contract agreement between the district and its teacher’s union.
However, after a 5 p.m. meeting with staff and board members Wednesday, Dr. Covington turned in his resignation. Three minutes later, board member Arthur Benson did the same. Benson said his resignation takes effect whenever Dr. Covington’s does.
Absent from the meeting, Benson declined interview requests. So did every other board member. They are working on a transition plan. So far, no one is willing to discuss details.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.