TEA to investigate whether Manor school officials violated open meetings law

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Investigators from the Texas Education Agency will examine the Manor school district after some officials there have complained about the conduct of the school board president and alleged that the president and board members have violated the Texas Open Meetings Act.

The most recent allegations continue a litany of complaints and allegations that have been flying back and forth since March in the district near Austin.

Some officials have alleged that school board president Elmer Fisher, Jr. conspired with district employees and board members to oust Superintendent Royce Avery, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Three unnamed district officials have filed complaints asking the TEA to intervene, because, the officials allege, Fisher and other board members violated the open-meetings law by “discussing and agreeing to fire the superintendent while away from board meetings,” the newspaper reported.

The school board planned to meet Wednesday night in closed session to discuss Avery’s future.

Avery himself has been the subject of other recent grievances.

On March 8, Nathan Balasubramanian, executive director of school improvement and accountability, complained to Fisher and another official that Avery had asked him to change expenditure data, telling him the expenses could cause strife with the school board, the Statesman reported.

On March 28, fine arts director Renferd Joseph alleged that Avery had, among other things, falsely accused him of sexual misconduct with a subordinate, the newspaper reported.

Joseph’s complaint against Avery was part of a swirl of complaints by district employees and officials against one another. Documents show that a district employee alleged harassment in connection with a sexual relationship between the employee and Joseph. The Statesman reported that Joseph had also complained to Fisher, the school board president, about a human resources official.

The school board hired an outside investigator to study all the complaints, but the results haven’t been made public and, the Statesman wrote, school officials are fighting a request for those records.

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