Southside ISD board votes against possible TEA battle

State-appointed conservator supposed to be present at meeting

SAN ANTONIO – After a little over an hour in executive session, the Southside Independent School District board voted 5-2 against pursing a legal battle with the Texas Education Agency.  The vote comes after a failed appeal of the TEA’s recent decision to put the district under conservatorship for major mismanagement issues.

“It’s gotten to the point where we do need outside help,” said Lucy Adame-Clark, a parent of two Southside ISD students. “It’s sad to say, because we elected a lot of these people. But if you cannot control your session, then we need outside help.”

A letter sent to board members and the superintendent, dated Feb. 1, informed them that a state-appointed conservator, Velia Minjarez, would be present at Thursday’s meeting, but Superintendent Mark Eads said that due to miscommunication, she was not present.

In addition to the conservator, the TEA will also appoint a five-member board of managers, with a majority of them coming from inside the district boundaries. The appointments basically nullify the upcoming May board elections, in which three seats would have been available.

“What I would suspect is, if that's something someone is wanting to do, then they'll be applying to TEA to become part of the board of managers that will be appointed,” Eads said. “My understanding is it takes a few months, three to four months.”

Thursday’s meeting was supposed to include a presentation regarding a new $59 million bond proposal that the district plans to put on the May ballot, which it must do by Feb. 17.

“The bond’s important, and it needs to be brought out to the voters,” Adame-Clark said. “It has to do with education. It has to do with infrastructure. We’re growing, but we need to do it in the right way.”

“I believe the community will support the bond because our students need it, our staff needs it and they need it. So I'm really not worried about it,” Eads said.

The district will call a special board meeting, set for Feb. 9, where they will release details of the bond, which includes the construction of a new elementary school.

The conservator is also expected to be introduced at the meeting.