State investigators push for replacement of HISD school board

Investigators alleging misconduct are recommending the state replace the HISD board of trustees.

In a new 34-page report, the Texas Education Agency reveals what it learned in its six-month investigation of the school district.

The TEA took a closer look at allegations that trustees violated state law when it made the decision to fire interim superintendent Grenita Lathan and hire former HISD superintendent Abe Saavedra without first holding a public meeting.

According to the report, investigators found the board’s decision was made in a “walking quorum” to avoid complying with open meetings laws.

Investigators also found evidence of board members acting individually to influence contracts and hiring, and a violation of procurement rules “through the abuse of Job Order Contracts to avoid the $500,000 limit,” the report says.

The TEA recommends a board takeover, the lowering of the district’s accreditation and the appointment of a conservator.

HISD will meet Thursday to discuss the report. The board of trustees is not likely to accept the findings, but the ultimate decision rests in the hands of State Education Commissioner Mike Morath, an appointee of Gov. Greg Abbott.

The report comes about a week before the release of HISD’s academic rankings on August 15.

If HISD schools don’t pass the rankings, that too could result in a school takeover, all of it just days away from students returning to class.