Questions raised over SAISD superintendent finalist's past

Sole finalist Manuel Isquierdo to visit San Antonio on Thursday

Author: April Molina, Investigative Reporter,
Published On: Apr 10 2013 05:54:26 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 10 2013 06:33:41 PM CDT

Within hours of Monday night's announcement, questions were being raised about San Antonio Independent School District superintendent finalist Manuel Isquierdo's past.

SAISD Board President Ed Garza says Isquierdo had been vetted -- even questioned -- about the issues.

Records show Isquierdo owes the IRS more than $152,000 dollars in back due taxes. He is named in three liens in two different states since 2009.

During his time in Arizona, Isquierdo was also cited for multiple traffic violations, including running a red light, speeding and driving with a suspended license.

Despite his past problems, the decision was made to announce him as the lone finalist and Garza said he stands behind that decision.

"We understand that he has very extensive experience with urban school districts, also improving student performance and graduation rates," said SAISD spokeswoman, Leslie Price.

Board member James Howard said the board members should have had this information prior to publicly naming Isquierdo as their finalist.

"The first I heard of it was reading the paper this morning, and that is very disturbing," Howard said.    

"What we do know is that it was a very extensive process. They took a lot of time in talking to several candidates and they fully assessed and had more than one interview with the lone finalist, so we're trusting that process," Price said.

Isquierdo did not return calls to our Defenders Wednesday, although he is scheduled for a media Q&A tomorrow.

Next Thursday, Friday and Saturday, there will be an opportunity for the community to get to meet him and provide feedback at the upcoming public forums.

For a list of recent stories April Molina has done, click here.