Following a heated board meeting earlier this month, trustees for the Robstown Independent School District are in the process of figuring out how the district should move forward with its search for a new superintendent.
During the Sept. 8 meeting, a proposal was made to discuss and consider approving the hiring of Fountain Head Educational Enterprises to conduct the district's search for a new superintendent. Immediately, trustee Adolfo Lopez voiced his opposition to the motion, demanding to know why the board was being asked to hire a firm without first discussing it or looking at other candidates.
"What you're asking right now is for this board to take action on something that hasn't even been approved by the board," Lopez said "Let the board decide if we want a search firm to do the search for the superintendent or if it's done in house. That opportunity was not given to this board. Therefore, it is wrong."
Board president Robert Tapia said the motion was to allow Fountain Head an opportunity to make a presentation to the board. However, the item was listed on the agenda as an action item for the board to vote on. Lopez then took exception to the agenda item having been placed at all.
"You are not to just bring something to approve," Lopez said. "Who put this on the agenda?"
"I did," Tapia replied.
"What gives you the authority to speak for all the board? You do not have that authority, Mr. Tapia," Lopez said.
"I'm not speaking for all the board, sir," Tapia said. "They're going to do a presentation, that's all they're doing."
"That's what I'm saying, sir. You are asking the board to approve a firm to proceed on a superintendent's search," Lopez said. "Sir, you don't buy the wagon before the horse, and that's what you are doing. That's wrong and you cannot do that. You are wrong, Mr. Tapia."
After a brief recess during which trustees contacted the district's attorney John Bell, representatives from Fountain Head were allowed to conduct their presentation. Afterwards, a vote was taken, which ended in a 3-3 tie, resulting in no action being taken.
Trustees Pablo Avila, Osvaldo Romero and Tapia voted in favor of hiring Fountain Head to conduct the superintendent search for the district, while board members Eva Orona, Richard Gonzalez and Lopez voted against the motion. Trustee Ernesto Gallegos did not attend the meeting.
Romero said on Tuesday that he would like to see an in-house search done by the district, adding that the district would know better than anyone what would be required of a superintendent.
"We want to bring the best superintendent to Robstown that we can," Romero said. "I think as time keeps creeping forward, we're losing valuable time to conduct a proper superintendent search."
One of the finalists would automatically be interim superintendent Tony Morales, which was agreed upon when he was hired, Romero said. That a search would be taking place was explained to Morales before he took the job, he added.
"This has nothing to do with Mr. Morales personally," Romero said. "It has more to do with bringing in somebody with the experience and the background and the vision to…lead the school district."
Morales was named interim superintendent in July after the board opted to make former superintendent Roberto Garcia a consultant for the district rather than buy out the remaining two years on his contract.