NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches Independent School District board members have voted to keep its superintendent of schools, at least for a time.
In a 4 to 3 vote, the school board approved the renewal of superintendent Sandra Dowdy's contract for another year.
After six months, the board will base her employment on district results test scores and the teacher turnaround rate
Voting in favor of the extension were board members G.W. Neal, Steve Green, Rev. James A. Ervin, and Russel R. Smith. Board members voting against a new contract were Farshid Niroumand, Pam Fitch, and James H. Montoya.
The decision comes after teachers, parents and others circulated an online petition to remove Dowdy.
The petition's title was direct: Non-renewal of NISD Superintendent's Contract.
Proponents say it was created "out of desperation that the school board and superintendent were not listening to the concerns of the community," said Kimberly Dolese, a former NHS principal.
Among them is a fear of a second mass exodus of teachers to other districts.
"They're adding a daily commute to their lives of thirty minutes up to an hour each way and taking a pay cut to leave NISD," said Heather Olson Beal, a parent and an education advisor.
Petition proponents hold Dowdy accountable for other concerns.
"Money that we're spending on 10 administrators at the high school and multiple other campuses," said Susan Teekell, a parent. "Why is that money going to administrators? Why is it not going toward the students?"
"Financial things that she needs to meet," said Mindy Winslow, a parent and an alumnus of NHS. "There's planning, there's communication, there's teacher retention. Our turnover rate is disastrous."
Until this week, Dowdy did not respond to the petition. Yesterday she sent out a staff letter. Her plea to teachers and staff is "that we stay focused on kids and we will win this situation."