Montgomery School Board Ends Effort to Obtain Former Superintendent's Job Evaluation

Nearly three months have passed since Alabama's attorney general ruled former Montgomery school superintendent Carlinda Purcell could not keep her job evaluation secret and now, a surprising decision from her former employer.

WSFA 12 News chief investigative reporter Chris Holmes confirmed Wednesday the Montgomery School Board has ended all efforts to get Purcell's taxpayer-funded job evaluation.

Purcell is now a candidate for another high dollar education job in Toledo, Ohio and it looks like that school board won't get a look at her evaluation either.

Purcell originally asked for the Alabama attorney general's office to rule on whether she was required to provide the raw materials from her evaluation. She later withdrew that request after she was fired.

When the attorney general eventually ruled against her last November, the board moved to get the raw evaluation materials.  Purcell has the only copy of those materials.

Wednesday, board attorney Carl Johnson told WSFA Purcell's lawyers "never gave a substantive response to the board's requests," which included several letters and phone calls.

Johnson said while media outlets have reported Purcell is now in North Carolina, he had no real idea where she was or how to contact her.

Later Wednesday, school board president Mary Briers said she and the board want to move on without the evaluation.

Briers declined an on-camera interview but told WSFA via phone that she had polled the board and they had decided to end the effort to get the materials.  Three other board members did not return our phone calls.

"We have done everything we can do. We're moving on," Briers said. "Whatever's in her evaluation will have no impact on our efforts to help children in Montgomery County."

Briers said she was familiar with many Purcell supporters' claims she was fired because of her race and sex, but denied those claims.

"Race had nothing to do with it," said Briers. "It was a lack of cooperation."

But without the interview materials and written surveys from senior office staff, principals and district educators, it will be almost impossible to determine how accurate that statement is.

Purcell's evaluation was composed of those staff and principal surveys, another individual survey of each board member, the superintendent's self-written professional development plan, and a summary.  The superintendent ruffled feathers when she only opted to release the summary to the board, and not the raw materials.

Previously, some Montgomery board members said they didn't get what many called 'a complete background check' on Purcell before they hired her. That was because a national search firm told the board that was prohibited.

Now after settling with the board for more than two hundred thousand dollars in salary and benefits, it appears Purcell will prevail on the evaluation issue as well.

This latest development means Ohio school officials will not get the benefit of a full evaluation of Purcell's relationship with the Board before they interview her.

WSFA has posted a web poll elsewhere on our website. It asks if the board should continue to try and get the evaluation or drop the effort.

You can vote in the poll until 6:00 p.m. Thursday.