KTRK-13 has a story about the disappearance of La Porte ISD Superintendent Molly Helmlinger:
School Superintendent Molly Helmlinger has been missing for more than a month. La Porte ISD says Helmlinger has always been responsible.
“We have not seen her,” La Porte ISD spokesperson Beth Rickert told us.
Helmlinger has been there about two years. But a little over a month ago, she stopped coming to the school board meetings. The district hasn’t heard from her since.
“You know what, I’m worried,” said Rickert. “And I’m concerned for her as a person.”
Parents like Don Ballard say Helmlinger’s missing in action status sets a poor example.
“You have to have leadership, and it starts from the top and goes to the bottom,” he said. “If you don’t have qualified at the top, then it’s not going to go down to the bottom.”
Because of Helmlinger’s absence, the school board held a special session this week and made a decision.
“Proposed to terminate our superintendent,” said Rickert.
The termination process could take at least 75 days and until those proceedings are over, Helmlinger will remain on the payroll with an annual salary of $150,000.”
“If I gotta go to work, she needs to go to work,” said parent Was McAnally. “If i don’t show up to work, I’m losing my job. She’s not there and she’s making that money. She’s making more than me.”
Parent Randall Wilson added, “It’s definitely a waste of our taxpayer funds.”
After reading the story, I am left wondering if she is just not showing up for work, or if she is really missing — as in the police are searching for her. That isn’t made clear. And, frankly, the parents quoted in the story sound terribly unfeeling and harsh if she is really missing.
We went to Helmlinger’s home to try to track her down. Flowers and a package delivery were on the front porch, but she wasn’t there; not surprising for parents who have already made up their minds.
We tried contacting Helminger for comment, but our efforts were unsuccessful.
It’s a strangely-worded story. I also watched the accompanying video report, but it doesn’t offer any further explanation on what “missing” means.
UPDATE (04-03-2005): In the forum, connie links to a story that seems to provide much needed context. It’s too bad the KTRK story didn’t include some of these details.