Editorial: Don’t rehire Brown

In a fitting move by a school district that has contemplated closing more schools and cutting funding for special education, the new Rockford School Board—only weeks into its term—is contemplating rehiring a superintendent who was found to be insubordinate, incompetent, untrustworthy and ineffective by the previous board March 27. Additionally, the board found Superintendent Dr. Alan Brown failed to meet three specific performance goals and performed improper conduct deemed to be nonremediable by the school district.

Partly to his credit, Brown oversaw the passing of three critical referendums that helped return unitary status to the school district on July 1, 2002. Yet, 23 of Rockford’s 50 public schools were on the Academic Early Warning List in December 2002; scores on state exams have declined across the board the past 11 years; 23 eighth grade students who failed all courses both semesters were promoted to ninth grade in June 2002; and 49 middle school students failed all of their core subjects, and 46 of them were promoted to the next grade in June 2002.

Brown himself even wanted to leave Rockford last summer for the Illinois State Board of Education superintendent vacancy. Apparently, he only wants to use Rockford as a stepping stone. Rockford’s 26,000 public school students deserve better, and the district deserves someone with a proven record of getting the community involved in the school system.

In a July 2002 interview, now Rockford School Board member Alice Saudargas, considered to be the deciding vote in the upcoming May 13 vote to rehire Brown, said: “We hope he does get selected as the next state superintendent. The central office is in shambles. This district is in a shambles because he has not provided leadership. There are a lot of people who are resistant to him. Wherever he goes to talk, he will tell you what he thinks you want to hear.”

Brown has done all he can for the Rockford schools. For the school district to move forward, there must be a change in the front office, otherwise the district will continue to be on a collision course with poor academic performance and weak financial standing. Rehiring Brown would resurrect old conflicts and mindsets that must be left behind for a higher standard for our children’s improved education.

The Rock River Times does not support the Rockford School Board’s decision to consider rehiring former Superintendent Dr. Alan Brown and urges community members to ask their school board representatives to vote against the rehiring of Brown at its May 13 meeting.

What follow are the allegations against Brown declared by the previous school board March 27.

Amended allegations

against Dr. Alan S. Brown,


Rockford Public Schools

The Rockford Board of Education hereby makes the following facts and allegations against Dr. Alan S. Brown (“Brown”), Superintendent of Schools in School District 205. Brown has violated certain provisions of his Superintendent Employment Contract executed as of June 5, 2000 (“Contract”), in the manner specified below and the Board believes that these charges constitute a material breach of said Contract with the School District.


A. Brown failed to provide Board members with complete and timely information reasonably requested or necessary for the Board to perform its duties related to its approval of deficit reduction measures for the FY 04 budget, on or prior to the Board of Education Meeting on March 11, 2003.

B. Brown failed to satisfy a commitment to the Board to reassign a certain member of the supervisory staff to a classroom, as he proposed and to which the Board agreed, on March 11, 2003.

C. Brown failed to follow a written directive of the Board of Education, issued on October 22, 2002, to immediately cause to be prepared a special education procedural audit and cost analysis.

D. Brown failed to timely disclose to the Board the list of Rockford Public Schools on the 2002 Academic Early Warning List (“AEWL”). He received written notification of the identity of the schools on the AEWL by Illinois State Board of Education Dec. 16, 2002.


A. At the Board of Education Meeting on August 14, 2001, Brown stated that he did not care what the state law banning social promotions provided; despite his awareness of the state law, he allowed failing students to be promoted to the next highest grade level.

1. Twenty-three (23) eighth grade students who failed all courses for both semesters were promoted to the ninth grade in June 2002.

2. Forty-nine (49) middle school students failed all core subjects, of which forty-six (46) were promoted to the next higher grade in June 2002.

B. Brown failed to adequately supervise employee(s) responsible for testing and evaluation, such that ISAT tests were not administered consistent with state regulations. Brown failed to adequately supervise staff to ensure that results of ISAT were properly analyzed and accurately reported.

C. Brown failed to conduct any written performance evaluations of staff under his direct supervision, at any time subsequent to the commencement of his Contract, contrary to the provisions of his Contract and provisions of the Illinois School Code.


E. Brown allowed the number of schools on the Academic Early Warning List to increase to 23 schools in December 2002, including the addition of two high schools; no Rockford high school had previously been on the list.

F. Brown allowed a member of the supervisory staff to be and remain unresponsive to requests for information from the Board and himself.

G. Brown has failed to promote team harmony, and professional working relationships with and among district staff.


A. Brown has authorized and obligated the Board to Special Education Contracts, without prior Board approval.

B. Brown has repeatedly exercised poor professional judgment by spending excessive time, during regular business hours, away from the district’s offices.

C. Brown has continuously exercised poor judgment by ignoring and failing to implement the District’s Strategic Plan.


A. Brown failed to meet the performance goal of increased student attendance by the 2001-2002 school year, as specifically set forth by Section A of Exhibit A to his Contract.

B. Brown admitted that he failed to review and recommend a district-wide mathematics curriculum for implementation in the 2001-2002 school year as set forth in Section B of his Contract.

C. Brown failed to develop a five-year budget plan, in concert with the District Strategic Plan, which includes a time line for planned reductions in the accumulated deficit as well as a yearly balanced budget.


A. Brown failed to timely communicate to the Board information about the State’s Academic Early Warning List.

B. Brown failed to provide to all Board members information and documents necessary to the Board’s deliberations on deficit reductions for the FY 04 budget.

C. Brown failed to communicate with the Board concerning a special education student placed in another school district, after being directed by the Board to change the placement.

D. Brown failed to inform Board members about the conditions/procedures for the placement of special education students.


The Board of Education lacks confidence that the Superintendent can be trusted, on a continuing basis, to provide timely communication of accurate and appropriate information and provide the educational leadership and appropriate supervision to improve student academic achievement.

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!