In response to recent outcry from parents regarding Superintendent Kent Scribner’s support of CRT-based policies, Fort Worth ISD’s school board voted 7-0 to move up Scribner’s last day as superintendent to August 31, 2022. He will work as an advisor for the district until February 28, 2023, when he will be eligible for retirement.
In December 2021, Scribner issued a letter to the school board announcing his intentions to retire upon the expiration of his contract in August 2024.
Since then, the district has faced increasing pressure from concerned parents regarding the prevalence of sexually explicit books and critical race theory in schools.
Since 2015, Fort Worth ISD has spent more than a million dollars on divisive initiatives, including equity walks and seminars encouraging district employees to “build their racial equity lens.” The school district also created a racial equity committee in 2016 and adopted a policy that “outlines institutional racism throughout our system.”
Parents soon began speaking out against these racially divisive policies; some even held a rally in June 2021 protesting the presence of critical race theory in Fort Worth schools.
Superintendent Scribner often downplayed parents’ concerns about critical race theory. At a roundtable hosted by The Texas Tribune earlier this month, Scribner joined two other area superintendents to discuss recent controversies in education, including the presence of critical race theory and explicit materials in public schools.
When asked about critical race theory, Scribner denied its presence in Fort Worth schools and criticized those expressing concerns about the issue.
“I don’t think you need to inject truth serum into the legislators,” said Scribner. “I think you just need to have a conversation with them individually behind closed doors, and they understand this is a manufactured crisis.”
Scribner’s comments at the roundtable discussion ignited further controversy and led to the special meeting of the school board.
Although Scribner is leaving early, he will still receive close to 75 percent of his remaining benefits, the result of a buyout clause in his contract. That number includes his annual salary of $330,000 in addition to retirement and insurance benefits. All of which will be paid for by taxpayers in their ever-rising property taxes.
In a statement released after the school board’s vote, Scribner highlighted what he believes to be major accomplishments from his tenure, including incorporating racial equity policies into Fort Worth ISD schools.
“I am most proud of our work in the area of racial equity,” said Scribner. “Through the creation of our Division of Equity and Excellence, we have taken actionable steps to address gaps in academic achievement and dismantle systems that have historically reinforced those disparities.”
The Fort Worth ISD school board now has less than five months to procure a new superintendent to lead the 76,000 students and 11,330 district employees.