This was going to be the district’s “banner year,” John Covington said.
That was less than two weeks ago, as classes were getting ready to open, and Covington and the Kansas City school board were working up plans to extend his superintendent contract by six years. Whatever gulf had separated Covington and board President Airick Leonard West in the past appeared to have closed.
Now, before the first round of pop quizzes could hit students’ desks, a school community well worn with turnover witnessed its latest, most stunning episode in the parade of departing superintendents over the past 40 years.
Still not ready to accept Covington’s startling resignation notice from Wednesday night, the school board ducked into a four-hour closed session Thursday to pull together a plan to win Covington back.
Civic leaders scrambled into campaigns to try to make the district whole again. The familiar haunt of potential state takeover rose once again.
And West, accused by board member Arthur Benson of being the root of Covington’s disaffection, exchanged challenges with Benson. Each called on the other to resign, Benson said, in an apparent attempt to open a door for Covington’s return.
Late in the day, Covington issued a written statement over the fray:
“I feel that I am obligated to reiterate that I have resigned as Superintendent of Schools for the Kansas City, Missouri School District, and do not plan to retract my resignation.”