Harlandale joins other San Antonio-area school districts taken over by TEA

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Alleging financial mismanagement by the school board, the Texas Education Agency will appoint a superintendent and governing board to take over the Harlandale Independent School District south of San Antonio.

The TEA ordered the board disbanded due to a pattern of nepotism, questionable financial decisions and poor oversight, including taking actions without full board consideration and approval and violating the Texas Open Meetings Act, according to a story by the Rivard Report, a nonprofit news organization in San Antonio. 

You can read the education agency’s entire report here.

Commissioner of Education Mike Morath appointed Judy Castleberry conservator for the district 18 months after she finished a two-year stint in the same role for the South San Antonio Independent School District.

Castleberry may not have solved South San Antonio’s problems, however. A monitor appointed to South San Antonio by the TEA recommended last month that another conservator be appointed to take control of a “runaway” school board there, according to a San Antonio Express-News story.

The TEA took over Edgewood, a third San Antonio-area district with school board problems, in 2016 and allowed voters in 2018 to elect a new board.

Harlandale has until July 9 to request a review of Morath’s decision. The board agreed at its June 13 meeting to dispute the agency’s findings.

“I respectfully disagree with the notice,” School Board President Ricardo Moreno was quoted as saying, “but we are going to do whatever we can to ensure we are … in a position to be successful, to make sure our kids are in a position of success.”

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