Gov. Bill Lee has selected former State Rep. Bill Dunn to serve in an advisory role to embattled Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn.
Sandra Clark has more in KnoxTNToday.com:
Former state Rep. Bill Dunn will earn $98,000 in his full-time position as senior advisor to state Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn. He will work from both Nashville and Knoxville, according to Victoria Robinson, director of media for the state Department of Education.
Dunn started work Monday, Nov. 9, according to a press release from Gov. Bill Lee.
(Note: the new job will boost Dunn’s state pension, which is based on his highest-paid years. He has worked for 26 years as a representative, which currently pays about $24,000. Look for a follow-up when we get actual numbers.)
Dunn has been a long-time critic of public education in the state, opposing the creation and expansion of a Voluntary Pre-K program and taking the lead in ushering in Lee’s school voucher scheme. The voucher plan has since been declared unconstitutional.
Some speculate that Dunn’s role is in preparation for his eventual takeover of the Department of Education. Schwinn has come under fire for her mismanagement of the DOE, and even Republican allies of Gov. Lee are calling for an investigation into her leadership.
Meanwhile, Dunn is a familiar face at the legislature and a committed privatizer. Whether or not he ultimately receives the Commissioner title, there’s no doubt his influence will be felt in the Department and in pursuit of legislative action.
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