TEA recommends replacing Harlandale school board, lowering accreditation

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The Texas Education Agency is recommending that Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath lower the Harlandale school district’s accreditation, appoint a conservator and replace the district’s board of trustees with appointed managers, FoxSanAntonio reported.

In a report released Friday, the TEA said the board of the San Antonio district cannot carry out its job due to mismanagement and corruption.

“This systemic breakdown is demonstrated by the board failing to oversee and monitor the district finances, taking actions outside the scope of their authority in directing district employees to perform tasks that personally benefit the trustees, and intimidating and questioning former and current employees about their responsibilities, and directing hiring decisions,” the report states.

This follows a report from TEA investigators in November that, as reported by News 4 San Antonio, documented years of mismanaged construction projects and complaints from residents.

“The money’s being misdirected for their own little pet projects in the district and not in the interest of the children,” Gina Castaneda, a former member of the district’s bond oversight committee, told News 4. She filed a complaint with TEA.

Brian Collister, CEO of the nonprofit Investigative Network News & Documentaries that obtained a copy of the initial report, told News 4 that TEA investigators “found that there was a more than cozy relationship between certain board members and an outside contractor and that the outside contractor was doing favors, giving gifts, doing things to get those board members in their pocket.”

 

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