San Antonio District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña has sent a letter to the Texas Education Agency asking it to investigate the South San Independent School District in light of numerous complaints from concerned parents and citizens.
The district is already on the TEA’s radar, but Saldaña is calling for a full investigation. In a two-page letter, Saldaña cites mismanagement of federal and state money, governance concerns, and the academic performance of students as the reason for his request. Although the city has cannot govern the district, Saldaña wants the state to intervene.
"Some folks might say this is not in the jurisdiction of the city and it certainly is not," he said. "But the body whose responsibility this is, is the folks that we’re requesting to come in an take a look at these things. I’ve essentially just laid out some facts as a request from residents to get involved and ask the TEA for their oversight and if the facts bare out that they take appropriate action."
The TEA will have the final say if an investigation is needed but Saldaña plans on getting the help of state legislators to lend their support. If the district is deemed to need oversight, it would be appointed a conservator that would be responsible for managing the school board.
"In the past this was called a 'master' and South San has had this back in the early 1990’s and they were able to straighten some things out and really it left a period of several years in which things were functioning with a level of stability," Saldaña said.
Last week San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro contacted Education Commissioner Michael Williams to also express his concern over the district. Calls to the board president of South San were not returned.