La Joya ISD hopes ‘proactive measures’ influence board of managers decision

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La Joya ISD marquee on March 11, 2022, in La Joya. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

La Joya ISD and the Texas Education Agency met with Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath in a hearing Wednesday at the TEA headquarters in Austin for the next step in the appeal process regarding the recommendation to replace the school board with a board of managers.

Morath did not make a decision, according to a press release by La Joya ISD.

TEA director of Media Relations Jake Kobersky said a decision looks to be made in November or early December.

Kobersky said the reason for the time frame is due to the commissioner having to digest all the information presented.

The TEA and La Joya ISD were allotted 20 minutes each to present their perspectives on a resolution.

No new information or evidence was presented at the closed meeting.

An investigation by federal authorities that resulted in the prosecution of two former trustees and three former central office administrators for corruption between 2017 and 2020 prompted the TEA to take a close look at the district.

On May 9, in a final report by the TEA, the agency recommended the appointment of a board of managers to replace the existing board.

The district did not contest the TEA’s allegations but argued that former trustees acted individually and not as a “body corporate” in the first allegation. La Joya ISD also argued that conflict of interest and disclosure requirements did not apply to the second allegation.

This led the district to file an appeal which led to a hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

In the La Joya ISD press release, the district states that there have been significant efforts by the administration with the support of the board to implement new procedures and proactive measures to address and enhance district governance. The district hopes these efforts will influence the final decision.

“We sincerely respect the weight of the Commissioner’s task and await his decision with anticipation, placing trust in the process,” the press release stated.