Committee: Sampson investigation may be completed next week

Published 8:16 pm Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Dallas County School Board could decide the fate of School Superintendent Anthony Sampson at its next board meeting May 23.

To do that, the board’s special counsel must complete its interviews and deliver a report to the board. The investigation committee, which includes board members Mamie W. Solomon and William Minor, reported that the hired attorney lacks at least two employee interviews.

Sampson was placed on administrative leave with pay during the last regular board meeting on April 25 following an executive session. The Selma Times-Journal observed through the glass windows of the county commissioner’s courtroom an attorney deliver a verbal report during that closed meeting.

Email newsletter signup

Board member Melvin Flanagan-Brown reiterated her intention to make a motion to reinstate Sampson effective immediately, but attorney Hank Sanders, who filled in for board attorney Malika Fortier, said it is not clear that the board had the authority to make such a motion.

“I don’t think it’s clear that you could have a motion to reinstate the superintendent when (the meeting was) called for an update.” Sanders said.

Miles said Flanagan-Brown could put that on the agenda for a vote at the May 23 regular meeting, especially since the investigation should be completed by then. Until then, Bridgette Carter will continue to serve as interim superintendent.

Two more interviews

Flanagan-Brown questioned why the last two persons haven’t been interviewed.

“But my thing is we gave them the two weeks vacation if you want to call it that, two weeks leave with pay,” Flanagan-Brown said. “Wouldn’t she contact those two first so they can get on the schedule?”

Solomon said those workers requested to have legal counsel present during the interviews.

“I don’t have a problem with them meeting along with their attorney,” Solomon said.

“I would suggest that they use their attorney when they speak to the investigator,” said board president Leroy Miles.

Solomon said there have been two rounds of interviews. The committee provided a list of people they requested to be interviewed.

“We had some extra people that were not on the list, but that was in the first interview,” Solomon said. “The second interview was just mainly who we requested to be interviewed, just in case someone comes off the street and say that I won’t have anything to say.”

Miles, however, did not want the attorney limited in the investigation.

“If they have evidence or whatever could help this investigation, she (the attorney) can interview whoever is going to help the investigation,” Miles said.

“Mister Chairman, with all due respect, we have not limited her to who she could and not talk to,” Minor said. “It’s just whatever she wants to do.”

Final report

Solomon said the attorney is expected to present a report to the board with or without the final interviews. She questioned if they needed a written report or a verbal report.

Miles said he wanted a written report. Board member Mark Story asked that the report be given to the board prior to the meeting.

“Mister chairman, is it possible that we if she’s gonna have a written by 5:30 on Thursday, is it possible we as board members could get copies prior to that?” Story said. “Just a few hours even.”

Sanders suggested the written report be provided to the board and Sampson as soon as possible.

“That would be wise,” Sanders said. “Whenever the report is finalized, I recommend that you have her send a copy to the board and a copy to the superintendent.”

Completing the investigation

Minor said they are not trying to rush the investigation.

“We’re going to follow the guidelines that have been given to us by the attorney, and that’s what we did,” Minor said.

Miles said he wants to be fair to Sampson during the investigation.

“That’s why we chose to do an investigation to be unbiased so we wouldn’t have anything to do with it,” Miles said. “So it is not to be taken lightly. It’s a serious issue, and y’all know where we stand on this. So the chips fall where they may along that line.”

The next regular board meeting will be Thursday, May 23 at 5:30 p.m. in the county commissioner’s courtroom.

After the update, the board went into executive session for 15 minutes. Following the meeting, all three high school principals invited the board to graduations May 20-22.