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S-TISD leader’s fate in question
by Jason Collins
Oct 16, 2013 | 94 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Belmarez
Belmarez
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SKIDMORE – Trustees at Skidmore-Tynan ISD have called a special meeting for Thursday to discuss, among other items, the dismissal or resignation of the superintendent.

The superintendent has been in the spotlight recently after making allegations that the board was meeting illegally. He also claimed whistle-blower protection.

Thursday’s meeting begins at 5 p.m. in the school’s special events center board room.

“As the superintendent of schools in Skidmore-Tynan ISD, I can and very well may be subject to attempted retaliation by my employer for making this report,” Belmarez writes in a letter dated Sept. 30 to District Attorney Jose Aliseda.

Belmarez declined to comment specifically about the agenda, saying only that “we are continuing to fulfill the mission of providing a great educational program for our young people. The focus continues to be on the educational process and its improvement.”

Details about the agenda items were not available Tuesday.

However, items on it appear to connect with issues discussed in prior meetings.

Following a four-hour executive session last week, trustees unanimously approved an investigation into allegations made by the superintendent.

“I move the board authorize the board president and legal counsel to proceed with retaining an appropriate person to conduct an investigation of allegations made by the superintendent in accordance with board policy DIA local,” Trustee Troy Hughes said during that meeting.

DIA local, according to information on the district’s website, deals with employee welfare and freedom from discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

Included in Thursday’s agenda is the decision by the board to take action on the status of the investigation.

Also included are the items specifically dealing with the employment of the superintendent.

• Consider and take possible action regarding resignation agreement with the superintendent

• Consider and take possible action regarding administrative leave for superintendent

• Consider and take possible action regarding proposed termination of superintendent

• Consider and take possible action regarding appointment of acting superintendent.

For the past several meetings, the board has also had items relating to the superintendent on its agenda.

About a month ago, trustees met on a Friday afternoon to discuss “matters of employment of the superintendent of schools.”

After a 2 1/2-hour executive session, the board returned from behind closed doors.

Trustees simply voted to “authorize legal counsel to proceed as discussed in closed meeting.”

Earlier this year, Belmarez reported that he believed the board had met illegally.

In the letter to the district attorney, released as part of the open records request, Belmarez writes, “Please understand that there are not just specific events, but a pattern that should be examined to reveal an ongoing violation pattern using new technologies. The methodology for these violations of the act mostly involves using new technologies that are deceptive and inventive. It is as if they can only be planned and organized by one who is trained and skilled in the art of deception.”

The letter alleges that a quorum of trustees met to discuss school issues that should be talked about only during a posted, public board meeting.

According to the letter, “When these combined meetings are held in a manner that is the same as an ongoing board meeting, there is no written notice of the date, hour, place and subject of the meeting in order to make the meeting open to the public.”

Board President James Bennett declined comment on these issues because of the investigation.

Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.
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