Baltimore's beleaguered school system is trying hard to regain public confidence and trust. That's a key reason why the Board of School Commissioners has insisted that Chief Operating Officer Eric T. Letsinger vacate his post after allegations that he planned to use system funds to pay for a chartered boat trip. While the situation is regrettable, the taint seemed to be too damaging for Mr. Letsinger to continue functioning effectively - and the school board is making every effort to be consistent in applying the same standards of conduct to all of its employees.
Mr. Letsinger, who came to the school system after serving as deputy housing commissioner in the administration of Mayor Martin O'Malley, was responsible for facilities management, food services, police and transportation, supervising about 1,000 employees. He was generally credited with pushing forward several construction projects that had been stalled, improving environmental safety and developing maintenance schedules for boilers, heaters and roofs that had long been ignored. An important accomplishment during his yearlong tenure was overseeing the process of closing and reorganizing schools as a consequence of declining enrollment and the threatened loss of state building funds.