At the risk of being accused of beating a dead horse:
School board members, especially in the suburbs, are not wily politicos. Most are community volunteers with busy lives and jobs. What they know about district affairs comes from the superintendent and his staff. And that flow of information can be tightly controlled.In the middle of a crisis, the independent investigator serves as a clean source of information for a school board president responsible for preserving the district’s image and credibility.
Frisco ISD should have followed the independent investigator model in the case of Sydney McGee, the elementary school art teacher who claimed that her principal retaliated against her for exposing students to art works of nude people at a Dallas museum.
Essentially, the Frisco district stuck to its story line for too long: “We’re right to want to fire Ms. McGee, and she’s wrong about it having anything to do with the art museum field trip. But we won’t tell you more.”
Ms. McGee and her attorney were allowed to define the story in the public mind, and part of their story was that Frisco administrators were covering up for each other.
Only after the story exploded and went nationwide did the district begin releasing some piecemeal information. Imagine the difference had Frisco ISD announced early on that an independent investigator would be hired. It would have snuffed out the cover-up charge.