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Sioux Falls School District Hires Former Board Pres. for New Admin Position

The Sioux Falls School District has created a new administrative position—”Director of Research, Innovation & Accountability“—to save money and filled it with freshly resigned school board member, former board president, and former Citibank chief financial officer Doug Morrison. Mr. Ehrisman asks some questions about when this new position was dreamed up:

While I don’t disagree that this is a very good idea, I wonder when the negotiations began? I also wonder if this was Morrison’s idea? What did he know before he decided to NOT run again and retire from CitiBank?

I also wonder where state law weighs in on this with open meetings in creating this position and conflicts of interest with a former school board member [Scott Ehrisman, “Was Morrison Offered This Position Before He Decided to NOT Run for Another School Board Term?South DaCola, 2017.08.01].

I’d try to answer those questions, but my casual breakfast searching can’t find any information about this new administrative position or Morrison’s hiring in any of this year’s Sioux Falls school board minutes or the proposed FY2018 budget book.

I can find the job description dated May 2017, Morrison’s penultimate month on the board. The Director of Research, Innovation, and Accountability is required to have a master’s degree (Morrison has a USD bachelor’s degree in accounting—I’m looking for résumé updates). The position is 241 days/”Level B” on the administrator’s salary schedule, which in the first year pays $118,250.

The new director’s job description includes defining “clear priorities and indicators of performance” and overseeing “the development of assessments, data analyzation [sic], and result reporting.” I’ll be curious to see whether the indicators of the new director’s performance are all banky/businessy—can he identify and justify program cuts that equal or exceed his new salary?—or if he’ll be evaluated on more qualitative and humanitarian measures of improving education.


  1. South DaCola 2017-08-02 09:24

    Thanks Cory for doing the research on this. Most people when they retire from a high profile job like this usually drive school bus part-time or volunteer at their church. Apparently Doug needed something that paid a little bit better than a greeter at Walmart.

    The deal stinks, big time.

  2. CraigSk 2017-08-03 21:50

    Really , only one comment on this issue? Everyone must be very busy this summer. Talk about typical South Dakota Cronyism. How did he get the job when he is does not meet the educational requirements? How many others applied? Is this position necessary? How do we afford paying 6 figures when we can’t get our teachers off of the “bottom paid educators” list? What do other readers think of paying this past Citibank CFO 6 figures to help our low pad teacher “get it together”? If he really has the answers to the educational problems the district faces, volunteer your assistance, don’t milk the district of money needed to pay the classroom teachers. I really would like to read other commenters thoughts on what I read as cronyism.

  3. jerry 2017-08-03 22:21

    The double and triple dipping by connected cult members is disgusting. Once they are on the teat, the only way they can be weaned is if they just die off. They sucked at the public job they were doing so why are they allowed to go further in their ineffectiveness. Geesh, when a bull cannot produce, we turn him into baloney. When a baloney former board member still cannot produce in South Dakota, we promote them by putting some lipstick on them like that will help. The herd needs culled with new blood.

  4. Greg 2017-08-04 10:44

    You have to just love it. The president of the school board pushes an opt out for budget shortages then takes a job that eats up 2.4 percent of the total increase of the opt out that was so badly needed. Wow, who are they trying to fool. Shame on the other members of the Sioux Falls school board and administration. You should be looking over your shoulders when you come up for reelection.

  5. Steve Pearson 2017-08-08 10:52

    And the District keeps getting away with things like this because the Media is Left just like most in Teaching. Hardly a peep about this out there except this article.

    You should also look at the recent new hiring by Maher. Seems like his first choice is Men in higher level roles. He hides it with a couple token hires.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-08-08 13:01

    Steve, do you really think there’s any Left/Right aspect to this story? If this hiring is an example of cronyism, I’d suggest cronyism knows no partisan affiliation; it just takes root among whoever’s in power.

  7. Steve Pearson 2017-08-08 13:07

    The partisan affiliation per the media yes. Argus Leader and other news stations won’t touch these stories about the District. Superintendent Maher gets his way on anything, much the same with every past Superintendent.

    The corruption in the Education System is rampant.

  8. Steve Pearson 2017-08-08 13:28

    And yes, cronyism is also part of this story. But the lack of media and attention that won’t happen regarding this story is left biased.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-08-10 07:31

    In Sioux Falls, Steve, I don’t think it’s left-biased. It’s probably just power-biased, same reason you won’t see negative coverage of Sanford Health.

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