Wednesday afternoon the press released the news that Greg Miller, current president of the state Board of Education, quit
. Not only will he no longer be board president, but he says he plans to leave the board entirely. Miller and Ed Supe Diane Douglas have feuded since she stepped into office in January, with Ducey generally taking Miller's side, so it's surprising to hear that, according to Howard Fischer's article, Ducey may be behind the ouster.
Greg Miller said aides to the governor told him they wanted him out as the top board official. Miller said Ducey, who is due to make new board appointments as early as this week, believed the change would help smooth over what has been at best a rocky relationship between the board and state schools chief Diane Douglas.
Miller is the CEO of Challenge charter school in Glendale, and his wife Pamela is executive director and vice president. His daughter Wendy is principal. The school appears to be doing well, as do the Millers. According to the school's 2012 tax forms, Greg made $121,875, as well as $26,956 in "Retirement and other deferred compensation." His wife Pamela made the same. Wendy made $99,167. There's the question out there whether Challenge charter benefits from Miller's school board presidency, but it's only a question. I've never seen any evidence that the school benefits from his political influence.
Which makes this paragraph from Fischer's article fascinating, especially the passage I've highlighted in bold.
[Miller] said he agreed to quit [the board] if he could control the wording of the press release, the timing of the announcement and got some assurances that the charter school he runs would get "political protections that I no longer could provide.''
Fischer, a very careful reporter, put quotes around the words, "political protections that I no longer could provide,'' meaning they're Miller's words. Is Miller saying his school has benefitted from political protection? Why would that be necessary? Is he implying he's afraid Douglas might use her office to target the school, or is there something else we should know?
I'm guessing Miller's statement will be clarified sometime in the near future. Stay tuned.