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South San Board Appoints Interim Superintendent; Accuses Predecessor Of Illegal Raises

Joey Palacios
TPR News
Interim Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra (right) takes his seat near the board shortly after being selected.

The South San Independent School District has chosen its fifth superintendent in six years. During the selection it was made known that the previous superintendent may have gifted raises without approval.

The South San Board selected former Houston ISD Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra to lead the district while a permanent replacement is selected. Mourette Hodge, the district’s recent interim superintendent, stepped down last week without giving reason after being on the job for six months.

During the meeting, board members noted Hodge was giving raises to employees, many of which may be have been considered illegal gifts. However, board member JoeJo Savage said this was not a matter of a superintendent gifting raises, but instead a superintendent being instructed to gift raises by board members.

"According to some sources she was adjusting and giving extra days to certain individuals without bringing it to the board even though she was directed by some board members to do that," Savage said.

Savage did not say which board members may have been involved.

Board President Helen Madla said Savage’s claims may not be the case.

"She was asked in litigation if she was told by any board member and she said ‘no.’ You can say anything, that’s his defense, but unfortunately that’s a lie. You heard what the truth was by legal," Madla said.

The board voted to rescind the raises Hodge had given to 20 employees. Interim superintendent Saavedra said he is not interested in the full position but will serve in the capacity until a permanent replacement is found. Saavedra will be the one to recommend if Hodge should be investigated. 

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules