Good Riddance


Andrew King, the Pittsburgh Public Schools administrator who salvaged his career after a well-publicized arrest in 1999 and later sued the district for passing him over for the superintendent’s job, will retire Saturday.

The school board last night approved Dr. King’s retirement as part of a settlement of a lawsuit and related complaints that he had filed with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

If he sued, he must have had a good reason, right? Discrimination?

Officers said they caught Dr. King having sex with a homeless woman in a van near a Hill District school.

Well, that’s pretty bad. It isn’t exactly work related, though. You can probably have sex with homeless women and still be a good administrator.

As interim superintendent, Dr. King quickly made waves by firing or demoting a number of top administrators and by introducing a pilot math program without consulting the district’s top math and science officer.

Well, I guess that is pretty bad, too.

Dr. King, who is black, alleged discrimination and the use of secret, subjective criteria to exclude him from the superintendent’s job, even though Helen Faison, a former superintendent who helped lead the search, also is black.

After Mr. Roosevelt’s arrival in August 2005, the board named Dr. King assistant to the superintendent for compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Dr. King called the change an illegal demotion, though it involved no loss of salary.

In the end, this cost the district what District Solicitor Ira Weiss called “only” $75,000, not, as far as I can tell, including legal fees. The lesson: go to work for the school board, get into fights with your colleagues, and get caught by the police having sex with a homeless woman in your van (in King’s defense, the officers had clear, bumper-sticker warning not to come a knocking). If you do, you will not only not get fired, you will not only not get a reduction in salary, you will even receive a year off and a $75,000 bonus.

In Greek tragedy people used to get punished for hubris.

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