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Embattled Dallas Schools Chief Defies Board, Fires Principals

Embattled Dallas school district Superintendent Mike Miles fired three principals this week despite a school board vote to keep them.

The school board voted in May to keep the principals after the superintendent asked the panel not renew their contracts.

An attorney who represents all three principals said two will appeal the decision and that the third didn't want him to speak publicly about her job, the Dallas Moring News reports.

Until the appeal process is resolved, all three principals will remain on administrative leave with pay.

A district spokesman said Miles' decision was a personnel matter. Per district policy, the superintendent has the authority to hire and fire employees without board approval.

Miles' principal evaluation system, which ties school leaders' appraisals to student test scores, has drawn criticism from community members for years.

Board President Eric Cowan, who has a daughter at one of the affected schools, voted to keep all the principals. He told the Morning News that he talked to Miles about three possible options for the principals, none of which included termination.

"I'm just disappointed with the whole process and how it's been handled," Cowan told the newspaper. 

Miles' own job security has been a hot topic of late after several school board members tried, but failed, to fire him in April over concerns about staff turnover, academic performance, and a scandal inside the district's human resources office.

The school board voted against a motion to fire Miles, deciding instead to issue him a "letter of concern." The district has not made the contents of the letter public.

Back in April, Cowan told the Morning News that it would be "irresponsible" to fire Miles midyear.  However, he did advocate for creating a "formal succession plan" for the hiring of a new superintendent.

Miles has led the 160,000-student school district since July 2012. He told Fox 4 in Dallas that he isn't concerned about being fired.

"The fact that we have we continue to have natural tension is just part...part of transforming a district," Miles told the television station.

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