SAN ANTONIO – An investigation report obtained by the Defenders reveals troubling behavior among board trustees of the beleaguered Edgewood Independent School District.
In a preliminary report on its investigation of EISD, the Texas Education Agency found a “systemic breakdown” within the Edgewood ISD board.
The six-member governing body was consistently deadlocked 3-3 therefore “impeding the district’s ability to govern and make decisions,” the report states.
A seventh board member resigned last August and the vacancy has yet to be filled.
The board was repeatedly tied and unable to make decisions regarding the hiring of principals for Kennedy and Memorial high schools.
The board standstill also left the trustees unable to take action on hiring a new superintendent, which the district has been without for six months.
On Feb. 19, three of the six EISD board members resigned.
Board President Dr. Eddie Rodriguez, Vice President Velma Pena and Tina Morales, board secretary, stepped down citing many of the same findings within the TEA report.
Morales and Pena also claimed they were the victims of threats and vandalism, they believe, because of their efforts to clean up the district.
The resignations combined with the board’s inability to act “represent a critical failure on the part of the district,” the report states.
TEA investigators found trustees “questioned employees about their supervisors whereabouts and duties and directed employees to perform duties out of the scope of their authority for the benefit of that trustee,” according to the report.
The report also states witnesses described overreaches of power on behalf of the board.
Witnesses told investigators a trustee filed a police report with EISD police but the trustee was “dissatisfied with what had been written and made handwritten changes to the report, directing the employee to incorporate changes.”
The report also states that a witness claimed a trustee “directed the EISD Police Department to patrol her private residence” and a trustee told an “employee in the EISD Police Department to leave his assignment on campus to interrogate an individual regarding a personal matter.”
In light of the findings, the TEA report recommends the accreditation status of Edgewood ISD be lowered, a conservator be appointed and a Board of Managers be installed to replace the current board of trustees.
Edgewood ISD has until Monday to respond to the preliminary report, according to the TEA.
In response to that report, EISD issued a statement saying, “Edgewood ISD will continue to work in compliance with The Texas Education Agency (TEA) to resolve all matters of their investigation. The students of Edgewood ISD are our main priority and we are committed to their success and to the community we serve.”