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State Cites Bad Management, Possible Criminal Acts In Takeover of Southside Schools


The state is taking over the Southside Independent School District, following an investigation that found bad management and possible criminal violations.


The Texas Education Agency (TEA) says its investigation of Southside ISD found elected board members who acted individually instead of together and who didn’t govern effectively.


The TEA’s DeEtta Culbertson says Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath- a former school board member in Dallas – is appointing a conservator to manage the district and he’s replacing the elected board with an appointed one.  She says the Commissioner’s concern is for students.


“When we begin to see a systemic breakdown of the district’s management that can have a negative effect on students, and it can impact student outcomes and student success," Culbertson says. 


Culbertson says the TEA also found problems with district contracts that could lead to criminal charges, though she declined to provide details about the possible illegal activity.


“What we found was that the board had failed to comply with contractual procurement requirements or contract requirements under state law.  We have turned over a report to the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office for further review."


A spokesperson for Southside ISD says the board and superintendent considered contesting the state’s takeover in court, but late Thursday night decided not to do that.


TEA representatives and the new conservator will be at the next Southside school board meeting on Feb. 9.