As expected, some have taken issue with my recent criticism of outgoing Scranton School Board President Bob Sheridan — particularly my assertion that a high school dropout has no business overseeing a school district with more than 10,000 students and an annual budget exceeding $150 million.
Sheridan has a GED, which I declined to address for years because I respect anyone who for whatever reason dropped out but went back and earned a diploma. History swells with GED earners who went on to great success, a roster that includes former President Gerald Ford, former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona and actor Robert DeNiro.
These people achieved more in a lifetime than most Ph.D.s. I challenge anyone to name a single achievement Bob Sheridan made to better the school district in his eight years on the board. As Sheridan’s second term grinds to a merciful end, the district is on the brink of collapse, carrying $183 million in long-term debt and staring down a deficit that could reach $47 million by year’s end.
Sheridan once told a Times-Tribune reporter that borrowing erases deficits. Let that sink in.
Sheridan also has a habit of saying things that just aren’t true. At Monday’s board meeting, he tried to throw Times-Tribune Education Reporter Sarah Hofius Hall under the no-bid bus. A taxpayer asked Sheridan why it took three years of “investigating” and a scathing audit by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale to stop 12 years of health and other benefits the district paid to a phantom mechanic and his wife who were never actual employees.
“I never said that,” Sheridan replied.
He absolutely did say that. Here’s the quote, from Sarah’s story:
“We had to investigate and see what was going on,” Sheridan said. “We had to discuss it and go over it with solicitors. That took time.”
It took time for me to get comfortable raising the Issue of Sheridan’s GED. I never finished college. I had this job and opted to stay in it rather than go broke chasing a bachelor’s degree.
The irony here is that Sheridan has never been shy about discussing his GED. It’s a key element of the “poor boy done good” sob story he used to collect votes. That sounds mean, but only because it’s true.
Believe it or not, I don’t enjoy beating up on Bob Sheridan, but he is no victim. Ignoring his obvious incompetence helped enable his eight-year reign of error. If I have any regret about calling him out, it’s that I didn’t do it sooner.