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Published:July 30th, 2006 13:36 EST

Silence surrounds departure of Patricia Pickles

By Ahmed Mabruk

The silence around the Pflugerville school board`s unanimous decision to accept the resignation of Patricia Pickles as superintendent is prompting some parents to question the motives of the board.  Why the board wants to replace Pickles has yet to be told. And that disturbs some people in the community. I think I have a right to know, " said Steve Dunn, a parent of two students at Connally High School, to the Austin American-Statesman. I`m one of the people paying for what the board decides to give her. I don`t even have enough information to form an opinion one way or the other as to if what the board was doing is right or wrong. "

The board voted unanimously in early July to allow Pickles, who had a three-year contract with the district starting last year, to leave with full retirement benefits Dec. 31 and a $50,000 check for relinquishing that contract. She had a salary of $165,000.

Pickles served as the first African-American superintendent of only three superintendents in the district`s 30 years. According to district trustee Paul King, however, race was not a factor in her ousting.

Rather, some say it was job performance.

From what I hear, there were a number of little things that didn`t work out the way they should have " poor decision-making, a lack of knowledge or inexperience that a Texas superintendent might need, " former superintendent Robert Spoonemore said to the Statesman. That sense of questioning her leadership style has grown over the last year. "

Deputy superintendent Charles Dupre will serve as acting superintendent until a replacement is hired. He was put on the job after Pickles was placed on indefinite leave in June.