Hernandez back as Mercedes school board president; signals power shift

Oscar Hernandez

Trustee Oscar Hernandez is back on top of the Mercedes school board.

In a split vote during the board’s regular reorganization at a meeting Tuesday evening, Hernandez was elected back to the same post he was evicted from seven months ago.

Tuesday’s vote points to a likely shift in power on the board.

Hernandez thanked the board and the community, saying he was grateful.

“I wish my parents were here to see their product of hard work and the strive for … just the little guy, to go on to the University of Texas, get a degree, and come back and say, ‘Hey, you can do it,’” he said. “And that goes for all the students that are there. Strive and continue your education. That really makes the difference.”

Hernandez’s previous term as board president ended early and as the district was in turmoil on April 8 of this year.

Two days before Hernandez was voted out in April, former Sgt. William G. Harrell Middle School coach David Reyes was arrested and charged with improper relationship between educator and student.

Months later Reyes was again arrested and charged with more sex crimes.

The initial allegations against Reyes rocked the community.

The district faced sharp criticism from the community. Hernandez and other trustees would later unsuccessfully support an effort to launch an investigation into administrative procedures and action taken on allegations of sexual assault at the district.

During that meeting on April 8, Hernandez was part of an attempt on the board to place Superintendent Carolyn Mendiola on paid administrative leave.

That effort failed.

An effort to reorganize the board at that meeting did not fail.

Trustees Rachel Trevino and Lucy Delgado asked for a reorganization of the district’s board to be put on the agenda for the same night.

They, along with trustees Brian Acosta and Ricardo “Rick” Garza successfully voted in Trevino as Hernandez’s replacement as president.

Trustees Eddie Howell Jr. and Pete Martinez III, along with Hernandez, voted unsuccessfully to the status quo.

At least one trustee said then that he felt Hernandez’s ouster was a consequence of him supporting Mendiola being placed on leave.

Trevino’s supporters backed Acosta for president Tuesday, but were beaten out by Hernandez’s supporters — who this time were joined by Delgado.

Delgado, in turn, was voted in as the board’s vice president over Acosta, with votes falling along the same lines.

Martinez beat out Trevino for the board’s secretary position, votes, once again, falling along the same lines.