Ollie Tyler’s mayoral campaign hypes her “great success” as the Caddo school superintendent during her tenure (July 1, 2003-July 31, 2007). And in fact Tyler claims that her administrative experience in Caddo (and in Baton Rouge/New Orleans) make her the most qualified candidate to be Shreveport’s next mayor. The facts indicate that Tyler did not hang the moon as the Caddo superintendent, and that her Caddo track record is quite the opposite.
Not surprising is the fact that Ms. Tyler’s campaign manager Linda Biernacki financially benefitted, – in a big way, – from the Caddo Parish School Board during Tyler’s term. Biernacki is the owner of Fire Tech Systems; her company was paid over $315,000.00 by the Caddo Parish School Board for services while Ollie was the superintendent. Other key Tyler supporters are also believed to have been Caddo school board vendors for Tyler, – and public records requests have been made to identify those feeding at the school board trough that are now big donors to Tyler.
Tyler was paid quite well by the school board. Her starting salary was $130,000.00 and her ending salary was $141,750.00. Presently she is getting a Caddo School Board retirement checks totaling in excess of $62,000.00 a year; and if elected mayor she will get another $109,000.00 plus in public dollars.
When she started as superintendent, the number of students in Caddo Parish Schools was 44,910. At the end of her term, the number was 43,357.00; thus the number of students decreased 1553. The number of non-teaching staff decreased by 81. The number of non-school administrators increased by 11.
The Caddo Parish School Board budget was $271 million when Tyler began her superintendent job. By the time she left this position, the budget had swollen by $39 million dollars to $309.5 million, – in just 4 years. In addition, the expenditures for the superintendent (and the board) increased over $1.1 million. Despite these large increases in funding, Tyler closed 5 schools while Caddo Superintendent.
Tyler also claims a massive improvement in the Caddo schools under her leadership; the facts do not support this widely accepted belief. Caddo schools were ranked 36th in the state of Louisiana in 2003-2004, – her first year on the job. In 2006-2007 (her last year), Caddo schools ranked 35th in the state. Thus the Caddo school system increased in ranking by only one (1) under Tyler.
In summary, Tyler’s record as Caddo Superintendent is not excellent:
a. Her salary increased $11,000.00
b. School board budget (tax dollars) increased $39 million
c. Expenses for her office (and board) increased $1.1 million
d. Number of students in the system declined by over 1500
e. She closed 5 schools while hiring 11 additional non-school administrators
Tyler’s claims and record do not match. It appears that Tyler’s management style was large increases in administrative personnel and budgets with minor improvement for Caddo students. These “credentials” should be carefully reviewed by Caddo voters on November 5.