New superintendent sworn in, limits reporters questions
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED Jun. 19, 2013
Fort Myers, Fla.
Do you have a right to have your questions answered by the new Lee County superintendent? Four In Your Corner found out it's a lot easier said than done. FOX4 reporter Dave Culbreth asked Dr. Nancy Graham how she plans to stop the controversies that have been dominating the district . And that's not all. We also wanted to know about this... Dr. Graham asked for and was granted the power to fire anyone she wants so, as is the job of a journalist, we asked those two questions and as you'll see not only were they not answered, they actually laughed about it.
Doctor Nancy Graham was sworn in Wednesday as the new superintendent of the Lee County School District. Graham takes over for Dr. Joseph Burke who leaves during what many would call a chaotic time for the school board. A state investigation is looking into whether or not he mismanaged money, and why he stopped an investigation into one of his top assistants.
With those problems still lingering, FOX4’s Dave Culbreth asked one of the five school board members if they thought things would change, now that Dr. Graham is in charge.
Do you think this is the beginning of the end of the controversy or do you hope? “I sure hope so,” longtime school board member Tom Scott said. “It's hard to get five people to agree 100% on everything. But we're all here for the same purpose. How we get to that purpose sometimes causes disagreements, but I think we can work through that for the good of the kids that we're trying to serve."
After the ceremony, reporters gathered to talk with Graham. We wanted to know about her plan to hire her own people and asked the question, some are wondering if that means current district employees, like administrators and teachers will be replaced.
“What about staff? There's a lot of people wondering if they're going to be keeping their jobs”. At that point reporter Dave Culbreth was cut off with the district’s spokeswoman Amity Chandler said, “Dave, we're gonna stop at one question.” Culbreth responded, “she can answer the question.” Chandler countered with, “Dave, she could but we agreed to one question.”
That is not true. FOX4 does not agree to any stipulations or conditions regarding interviews.
Despite wanting to ask several questions on our viewer’s behalf, we were allowed only one. Other reporters also tried to ask about whether people will lose their jobs. Graham had hinted in an earlier answer that she will begin forming her staff tomorrow. One reporter asked, "so will you name some people tomorrow, will we as the media find out who some of the people are? Graham answered, “I don't know.” Then there was laughter. The reporter continued, “Can you give us some hints then? To which Graham replied, “I think you're asking more than one question”. Then there was more laughter followed by Chandler saying to move on to the next reporter.
Graham was able to end on a high note focusing on what's ahead. "The plan is to move forward,” she said. “I have a plaque at home that I've had for years. It says 'Don't look back' so, we're going to move forward. That's the plan."