Tulsa Superintendent Finalist For Detroit Job

Sunday, December 12th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa school superintendent John Thompson has reportedly been interviewed for the top job in Detroit's public school system. Detroit officials became interested in Thompson after he led a successful $109 million bond issue in November. Thompson was one of 11 superintendents and administrators from across the country interviewed last week by Detroit

Public School officials, said John Hamill, a spokesman for Tulsa schools. Thompson is reportedly on a short list of candidates for the Detroit position. Thompson has been Tulsa's superintendent since 1994.

In a statement earlier, Thompson indicated that he had curtailed plans to seek a job outside Tulsa until after the November school bond election.

"I am exploring other opportunities and continuing discussions with our board of education," Thompson said. "My inclination is to stay in Tulsa. "However, the success our team has achieved during my five years here has attracted nationwide attention," he said. "As a result, I am carefully evaluating the alternatives in terms of my family's best interest."

Tulsa school board President Ruth Ann Fate said Thompson's three-year contract expires next summer. The school board will notify Thompson in January about whether his contract will be renewed next year, Fate said. She said Thompson kept his promise to make the board aware of plans about other job interviews. Fate said she told several school board members individually that Thompson was interviewing in Detroit.

In June, Thompson decided against pursuing a job in a Washington, D.C., suburb. Tulsa school board member Cathy Newsome said Fate told her Monday that Thompson was considering a new position.

Newsome called Thompson a "take-charge" superintendent who could turn around a troubled school system. Detroit Public Schools district is the seventh largest school system in the country with 182,300 students. The Detroit News reports that test scores there have been below state averages. Dropout rates are far above state averages and truancy is chronic.

Michigan Gov. John Engler has proposed shifting control of Detroit's poorly performing school district from the elected school board to the mayor's office in Detroit.