HISD votes to continue search for permanent superintendent

HOUSTON – There was another HISD school board meeting Thursday, and another night of dissension and pointed debate.

The most heated exchanges revolved around the decision on whether to suspend the search for a new superintendent.

"Just temporarily suspend it until TEA have come down with their investigation," implored Trustee Wanda Adams. "See what their findings will be."

Trustees in favor of a suspension point to the current Texas Education Agency investigation of the board -- believing that until the findings are complete, the most qualified candidates won't apply.

They also point to and acknowledge their very own dysfunction as a possible deterrent. And Thursday, several of the board members defended themselves against charges of racism.

"2016, 2017, 2018, I am still the same person," said trustee Diana Davila. "I have not become a racist and all this time I'm still the same individual."

That statement was in response to claims from several members of the public who spoke Thursday and from at least one fellow board member that those who don't endorse acting Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan are opposed based on her race.

Parents and teachers were divided on the board's final vote to continue the search.

"For them to get the search that people are calling for and that they want, I believe in that opportunity, as well," said parent Patrice Jones.

Monica Zepeda, a current teacher whose children were educated in HISD schools, had a more neutral approach to the vote.

"Many of the egos are there on the board," Zepeda said. "I mean, I really sincerely mean this, that maybe give Lathan a chance with a clean slate. Because I feel like there's just been so much dissension, so much fighting."

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