On Tuesday afternoon four members of the Rio Grande City CISD met following a previously posted agenda. By the end of the meeting those present; Leticia “Letty” O. Lopez, Dr. Daria “Dr. B” Babineaux, Daniel “Danny” J. Garcia and Eleazar “Elias” Velasquez had approved several changes.
First the four tackled the reorganization of the board. Elias Velasquez was appointed President, Letty Lopez remained in her position as Vice President and Dr. B was appointed Secretary. Nearly at the same time that the meeting was taking place Eduardo “Eddie” Ramirez was introduced at the 8th grade promotions as RGCCISD President. The group then voted to terminate the services of the district’s legal counsel, Ruben Peña and replacing him with Baltazar Salazar. After an executive session they also approved the contract for Superintendent finalist Vilma Garza and a lawsuit settlement aside from the trip expenses that were listed. These last items had already been approved by interim Superintendent Roel Gonzalez.
While the meeting went as planned it does not mean the minority has not raised concerns over its legality. Earlier that same day El Tejano received documentation outlining a complaint in a letter addressed to District Attorney Omar Escobar signed by Eduardo “Eddie” Ramirez and Basilio “Bacho” Villarreal. In the letter the pair gives a time line of the events that led to the May 28th meeting. They state that the four members have violated the open meetings act and that the posting of the meeting was unlawful. According to the document any action should be considered invalid and they request the District Attorney investigate any violations. Following a similar mindset interim Superintendent Roel Gonzalez submitted a letter to the public stating that the meeting had been deemed a violation of the open meetings act and that he would serve until the Court of Appeals removes him.
Prior to the meeting the majority of the board had contacted Texas Education Agency Deputy Commissioner Mr. A. J. Crabill and Judge Carlos Valdez. According to the group they were asked to document all the actions that led to the May 28th meeting and were not given any indication to halt the meeting.
It is notable to add that Open Meeting violations are usually reported to the Attorney General’s Office. They had also mentioned that a representative of TEA would try to attend but El Tejano did not identify anyone from the agency. The board had not met since March. A meeting scheduled in April could not be conducted since none of the board members were present. Timing could be considered critical, especially for the changes that the group intended to make. A petition to remove board member Daniel J. Garcia is to be heard the first week of June. Should Garcia be removed the board could be split in a tie between the two opposing groups making an appointment of a replacement tough and even minimal changes could prove to be a challenge.
While there may be some confusion the majority has elected to make the changes. It is apparent that challenges may come but for now we congratulate those that have gained titles.