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Harlandale ISD trustees say they will try to prevent TEA takeover of board

(SBG San Antonio)

New developments on a story the News 4 Trouble Shooters first broke Monday night. The Harlandale School Board held a special meeting Tuesday evening, their first since the Texas Education Agency recommended dissolving the board and taking over management of the district.

Despite this scathing report from state investigators that called the school board “dysfunctional”, trustees say they are going to try to hold on to their positions and convince the TEA not to take over the board.

Parents hoping to ask questions of the Harlandale ISD board members were quickly disappointed.

Moments after opening the meeting, trustees walked into a closed session with their attorneys.

“As a taxpayer, it should be transparent. There should be no secretive meetings it should all be in the open," said parent Esmeralda Campos.

An hour later trustees returned. Superintendent Rey Madrigal, accused in the report of making payments to a contractor without board approval, said they would all agree to undergo more training.

“While we are disappointed in the conclusion by TEA, we will continue to work with the agency to address the allegations in the preliminary report," Madrigal said.

Then they adjourned, without taking public comment, or discussing the most serious sanction recommended in the report: replacing the trustees with a conservator or board of managers.

News 4 Trouble Shooter Jaie Avila asked Board President Juan Mancha if he agreed with the TEA report’s assertion that the board is “dysfunctional”.

“No sir not even close, I think we're doing a wonderful job the only thing we can do is get better,” Mancha said.

When asked if the board would be able to keep the TEA from taking over the board Mancha replied, “That's up to them, sir."

Attorneys for the school district say they will now request more information from the TEA so they can formulate a formal response which is due next month, but they're also asking for an extension.

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