Des Moines schools superintendent’s pandemic response could cost him his job

Iowa News

Dr. Tom Ahart, Superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools. (WHO 13)

DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO-TV) – Des Moines Public Schools Superintendent Thomas Ahart could be stripped of his administrator’s license – and thereby lose his job – after multiple complaints about the district’s failure to follow state law and bring kids back to the classroom last fall.

The complaints were made in the fall of 2020 to the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners. That board grants and oversees educational licenses in Iowa, including administrators’ licenses which are required for a superintendent.

The complaints against Ahart were filed when the the district failed to return students to class at least half-time in the fall of 2020 as required by law despite not having a waiver from the requirement. The district did eventually return students to school part-time later in the fall.

The board has asked Ahart to either surrender his license or agree to some lesser sanction. Ahart is scheduled to appear at a hearing before an administrative law judge on May 20th to consider the sanctions.

Des Moines School Board members Dwana Bradley and Rob Barron defended Ahart in a joint statement released to the Associated Press.

“Trying to save the lives of Iowans, during a period unlike anything any one of us has ever experienced, should not be met with an attack on Dr. Ahart’s career,” the statement said. “This complaint does nothing to benefit the children of our school district and move us past the pandemic.”

Dwana Bradley and Rob Barron, Des Moines School Board

Ahart has served as superintendent at DMPS since 2013.

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