TEA report suggests replacing HISD board with state-appointed panel

The Texas Education Agency is now another step closer to getting rid of Houston ISD's elected school board and turning over control to a state-appointed team.

The findings of the TEA's six-month investigation into HISD has not been made public, but we obtained a copy. The state's probe accuses some board members of repeated acts of misconduct, including lying to investigators, inappropriate influencing of vender contracts, and violating the Texas Open Meetings Act.

In the report, some HISD board members did not fair well for last fall's attempt to get rid of interim superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan and welcome back former superintendent Dr. Abelardo "Abe" Saavedra.

TEA investigators say five board members secretly met with Saavedra in a restaurant to discuss his possible return to Houston. The TEA report states that the five board members never met as a group of five, but rather two separate groups on the same day, becoming what the report calls a "walking quorum", which is a violation of state law.

The TEA report claims some board members were dishonest with investigators, claiming they were alone when they met with Saavedra. Lathan was re-instated within a week.

The TEA report also says some board members violated rules relating to vender contracts, failing to monitor job orders properly and straying from board policies.

In addition to the TEA's report, HISD also has a few schools the state continuously cites for low performance, another reason the TEA could take over. HISD officials have until August 15 to respond to the report.