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Edgewood trustee appointment raises questions

January 27, 2019

The filling of a vacancy on the Edgewood Independent School District board by its appointed board of managers could have been handled better.

Dysfunction on the district’s board of trustees prompted the state to replace the elected board with an appointed board of managers in 2016.

There was great controversy early on when one of the original appointees, who was outspoken about district operations, was removed and quickly replaced.

Recent action by the board of managers, appointed by Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath, is once again raising concerns about the governance in this low-property-wealth school district.

At a meeting earlier this month, the state-appointed board of managers filled a vacancy created by the resignation of an elected trustee. For the sake of transparency, that appointment should have been left to the education commissioner.

While it may have been within their legal authority for the appointed managers to make the choice, the troubled history of this beleaguered district makes it important that board politics don’t overshadow the education mission.

Morath has said the district will transition to an elected board by 2020. The details of that plan have not been laid out, but school board elections have been allowed to proceed despite the state’s takeover. Those elected were not allowed to take their posts and will only do so at the education commissioner’s discretion.

The transition to an elected board began last year. Morath allowed two of the trustees who won voter approval to assume their seats. That made for a seven-member board comprised of five appointed managers and two elected trustees. One of the elected trustees later resigned.

Board President Roy Soto told the Express-News that the appointment decision was made without consulting Morath because the board felt it was its responsibility to move forward.

However, proceeding on issues like this without consulting TEA only cause distractions and invites problems.

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