HISD trustee welcomes TEA investigation of board

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HOUSTON – HISD board trustee Jolanda Jones is one who welcomes an investigation by the Texas Education Agency. In fact, Jones openly has called for an official inquiry of board activities for several months.

"They've been doing a lot of things that I think should've been investigated," says Jones.

A source with knowledge of school board operations has confirmed to Channel 2 that TEA investigators were at HISD headquarters Tuesday "[going] through computer files investigating potential violations of open meeting laws."

A Texas state lawmaker also has requested an investigation for the very same reason but it is not known if Tuesday's action was a result of the request by that lawmaker or Jones.

"I do know that people have been complaining," Jones said. "I've had various people contact me, even at the state level."

Diana Davila, HISD board president, said Wednesday that no Open Meeting Act violations have happened.

"I think it's been rumored, and the rumor has run to become something of a truth for some people," Davila said. "Again, we welcome any investigation that anyone wants to do in reference to that OMA violation because we have nothing to hide."

Davila said the board is consulting attorneys before speaking further about the investigation. Former HISD board president Rhonda Skillern-Jones said members will meet with legal counsel Thursday.

Many have described the school board as dysfunctional. With Gov. Greg Abbott recently advocating for a state takeover of HISD, trustee Jones addressed the possibility that this new investigation could be used as a potential catalyst for a takeover.

"I can tell you this. One of the reasons they could is board governance," Jones said. "Technically this would qualify. But if the board gets taken over you should talk to my colleagues who violate open meetings."

A spokesman for TEA confirmed Wednesday that HISD officials were informed about a special accreditation investigation that has been launched. The spokesman said the investigation has nothing to do with a takeover of the district.

Editor's note: The headline on this story was updated to clarify that Jolanda Jones does not support a takeover of HISD.

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