Exclusive: Pontiac Parents Press Lansing Superintendent

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

Parents in Pontiac are trying to make sense of why Lansing Superintendent T.C. Wallace wants to leave our 15,000-student district for their 7,200-student district, less than two years into his four-year contract.

"My decision to look at Pontiac is in no way a negative reflection on the Lansing School District," Wallace said to a group of less than 10 parents Monday.

In the public forum in Pontiac Monday, Wallace cited experience and know-how.

But the teachers union president wasn't sold.

"You have twice as many students," said Irma Collins of the Lansing School district. "We only pay $156,000. I saw on the Internet you make $175,000. Why would you come to this district if you're in a flourishing district? You're saying because you have the credentials? I can't buy that. Why would you come here?"

Wallace answered simply: "It's for me. It's not about status. It's not about salary. It's about serving young people. I feel i can make a difference."

But minutes later, Wallace changed his reasoning.

"My decision is a personal family decision."

And then again in an interview with us after the forum.

"I would best describe this as a personal family health issue," he said about the decision to seek a job outside of Lansing.

If that is the case, the Lansing School Board tells us this is the first they've heard of it-- and if he'd told them about it, they maybe could have worked something out with Wallace's contract.

But in a suffering district like Pontiac, parents say they want someone for the long-haul-- not someone who will leave after two years.

"My questions were not answered, let's put it that way," says parent Caroll Turpin.

Wallace told the crowd "There are no contract issues" in Lansing, though he told us he has a four-year contract. The school board confirms his contract expires June 30, 2011.

Wallace is currently one of two finalists for the position. The second, Dr. Brian Ali of Mattson, IL, will be interviewed Thursday. A decision is expected to be made by the Pontiac school board the week of March 9.

Wallace tells us he was a mentor to the last superintendent of Pontiac, Dr. Mildred Mason.

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  • by Bonnie on Feb 26, 2009 at 03:45 AM
    Stimulus money Del-Monte major contributor to Pelosi, Her husband owns 17 million in stock there,Pelosi made sure Amer. Samona whom owns Del-monte and Starkist received 33 million made them except so they wouldn't have to pay min-wage increase. Bush Corrupt she says? How do you spell HYPOCRISY?
  • by Fred Location: Lansing on Feb 24, 2009 at 02:23 AM
    I thought that there was only 2 reasons for him wanting to leave Lansing. 1) More money, guess thats not the case or 2) Bailing out of the sinking ship. But I guess there is a 3rd reason He is just not very smart. How did he think that the people of Pontiac would act? Some people still value commitment. Did he think the people of Lansing would still warmly embrace him if he didn't get the job. Now we in Lansing are going to be stuck with a lame duck superentendant for another 2 yrs. Smooth move T.C. way to look out for the best intrest of the kids in Lansing. A real class act.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 23, 2009 at 05:09 PM
    He is going to be a lame duck superintendant. Everyone will be thinking he will be heading out the door.
  • by Dave Morris Location: United States on Feb 23, 2009 at 04:39 PM
    I cant believe any body would hire this guy. I think lansing should give him the boot. Hire smoebody with ties to lansing. Ther must be some talent within the district.
  • by Keith Location: Lansing on Feb 23, 2009 at 03:35 PM
    Oh, you can bet there is SOMETHING going on. The general public just doesn't know what it is yet. That Pontiac parent hit it on the head - why would you leave a flourishing district for an extremely troubled one, for less money? It makes no sense.
  • by Mark Location: Lansing on Feb 23, 2009 at 02:28 PM
    NO!!! This means that we'll be stuck with TC for the rest of the contract! NO!!! Oh well. I can't say I blame Pontiac for not wanting him...neither do we.
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