HISD board members respond to TEA suspending search for superintendent

HOUSTON – Houston Independent School District board members and community leaders are divided over what many call a "last-minute decision."

Some said it was the best choice for the school district, but others said it was a calculated move by the state to stop the search.

"Today, we were going to decide who that finalist was so I'm sure they knew," said Dr. Sergio Lira, HISD board member.

Lira said the state came in and pulled the rug out from under them.

The Texas Education Agency knew the board was set to announce a finalist for superintendent and stopped the search on purpose.

"One of my gut feelings is that if they decide to take over the board it's going to open the door to more privatization. That's what's been happening across the state," Lira said.

Community and faith leaders said it's not about who is in that position, it's about what that person has been doing for the school district.

"I think what people tend to hear is do you support Dr. Lathan or not? The question is do we support the progress that is being made," said Dr. James Dixon II, of the Kingdom Builders Global Fellowship.

TEA has been investigating HISD since January over allegations of violating the Texas Open Meetings Act.

A state-appointed conservator sent an email Monday telling the board to stop the search until the special accreditation investigation is complete.

Dr. Grenita Lathan, the district's interim superintendent, did not want to discuss the state's investigation.

"My statement is: 'I'm focused on children and learning' and that's going to continue to be my focus," Lathan said.

We contacted the TEA, no one there wanted to comment on the investigation. One board member said the investigation is expected to be complete by June. It's still unclear if that's when a new superintendent will be named.

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