Claycomb Associates, Architects

The cost of college continues to increase, but too often, financial aid officials say, students fail to tap into existing resources, resulting in “money left on the table.” A new state law could help. Included in House Bill 3, which focused on school finance reform, is a requirement that all high school students fill out and submit a free application for federal student aid, or FAFSA, prior to graduating. Current high school sophomores who graduate in 2022 will be the first class to fall under the new law. view article arw

Athens ISD bus driver John Stevens appeared alongside his three attorneys Thursday at a Henderson County court for a discovery compliance hearing scheduled last month. "It's essentially for the state and for us to compare notes on whether or not all of the discovery has been turned over in this case," Justin Weiner, one of Stevens' defense attorneys, said. "And we believe that the DA’s office, at this point, has turned over everything that they have." view article arw

Attorneys representing John Stevens, the Athens Independent School District bus driver indicted in connection with the auto-train crash that killed one student and injured another student, has asked Judge Scott R. McKee to grant a continuance in the discovery hearing scheduled for Thursday. A discovery hearing is a pre-trial hearing for both sides to obtain evidence from the other party by means of discovery. This can be a request for documents, devices or other evidence pertain to the case. view article arw

The Austin American-Statesman and its parent company, GateHouse Media, LLC, filed a lawsuit against the University of Texas on Wednesday over the school's refusal to supply records related to students disciplined for sexual misconduct. The lawsuit, which was filed in Travis County District Court, names UT President Gregory L. Fenves, Chief Financial Officer Darrell Bazzell, and UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken as defendants. view article arw

The city of McAllen is asking the Texas Attorney General to determine whether it must release police reports detailing the public suicide of a man down the street from McAllen High School that occurred as authorities tried to arrest him on a charge of online solicitation of a minor. Antonio Eloy Cruz, a 25-year-old Brownsville resident enrolled at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound Sept. 25 after he arrived at the La Vista Apartments to have sex with someone he thought was a minor, according to authorities. view article arw

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is now investigating the allegations of inappropriate behavior by several football players at an off campus location last week. In a statement from Montgomery ISD, the district’s police department had completed their investigation into the alleged hazing incident. The incident was reported through the district’s anonymous tip line. view article arw

One of the two people indicted in connection with the alleged theft of thousands of dollars from Greenville Independent School District is a former official of the district. Former GISD Chief Human Resources Officer Ralph Lee Sanders and Tevin Brookins were both indicted by the Hunt County grand jury on charges of theft of property by a public servant of the value between $2,500 and $30,000 on Aug. 23 of this year. view article arw

A former Terrell ISD school employee who was indicted by a grand jury and booked and released from jail last week could be responsible for over $80,000 in misappropriations of student funds according to arrest warrant affidavits. view article arw

Alice Independent School District officials alerted district parents about new rules to reduce "invasive recordings" among students. The message came from the office of the Superintendent and was sent via an alert system, Wednesday evening, Oct. 2. According to the notice, administration became aware of some students at William Adams Middle School who were inappropriately using their phones to illegally record other students. The incident is currently being investigated by police and the school. view article arw

After this past legislative session, Texoma schools are preparing for House Bill 496 to go into effect. On Tuesday teachers at I.C. Evans Elementary in Burkburnett learned how to use “Stop the Bleed” kits so they can be prepared for any worst-case scenario. view article arw

Texas Senate Bill 944, which went into effect on September 1, 2019, amends Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code (the Code) by clarifying the requirements for preservation and production of public information on the personal electronic devices of governmental officers and employees. The question is whether and to what extent the law has actually been changed. While the primary tenet embodied by Senate Bill 944—the requirement to preserve public information and foster governmental transparency—has not been significantly altered, the real-world processes for both school district employees and the district itself have undergone a meaningful change.

Tatum ISD released a statement to those planning to attend Friday morning's protest in regards to the district's dress code policy. The statement sent out Thursday afternoon to parents and staff, states that protesters will not be allowed on district property. view article arw

Calvin Walker’s future rests in the hands of 12 jurors, 10 women and two men, after testimony concluded and closing arguments were made in his fraud trial Wednesday. Walker was accused of providing false invoices for materials he used in two projects wiring temporary campuses for the Beaumont Independent School District, where he also had a maintenance contract. view article arw

Carrol A. 'Butch' Thomas began testifying Tuesday afternoon for the defense in the Calvin Walker trial. Walker was a contract electrician for BISD during some of the time Dr. Thomas headed the district. view article arw

Rick Sorrells, the former superintendent of the now-gone Dallas County Schools, has a new home – federal prison. Sorrells checked in this week to the low security federal correctional institute in Beaumont to begin a seven-year sentence for wire fraud, the result of his admitting to taking more than $3 million in bribes while leading DCS. He was one of the key players in a camera-buying scam that drove the school agency into financial ruin and sent others to prison, including former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway. view article arw

Huntington ISD files answer to lawsuit

September 1808:40 AM
 

The Huntington school district has published its response to a lawsuit filed earlier this year regarding allegations of hazing.The lawsuit was filed Aug. 6 by an individual under the pseudonym John Doe I on behalf of a former student, under the pseudonym John Doe II, who the lawsuit states was sexually assaulted by another student during his freshman year.  The suit alleges the Huntington school district had a culture of tolerance for bullying and hazing, particularly among student athletes, and even made references to incidents throughout the 2018 school year in which students would haze and sexually assault other students. It also noted the effect it had on the victim student.  The lawsuit seeks to hold the district liable under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which prevents anyone from being excluded in participation, denied the benefits of or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. According to the lawsuit, HISD failed to take action as needed. In its response, the school district denied violating the plaintiff’s rights, denied the plaintiff being entitled to relief and denied the allegations made in the lawsuit. HISD insisted the burden of proving the allegations levied at the school district is on the plaintiff and not the district. view article arw

The Harlandale ISD board of trustees is considering a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Texas Education Agency as a way to fight a proposed state takeover of the district. The TEA has been taking over districts for decades, and so far the takeovers have been related to financial, academic or governance improprieties. However, Harlandale ISD attorney Kevin O’Hanlon pointed out that the only districts the TEA has taken over have been those where racial minorities are the majority. O’Hanlon believes that this puts the TEA in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act. view article arw

A former Arlington ISD cafeteria worker is accused of stealing approximately $9,000 from students’ meal accounts. Alma Rodriguez, 52, was indicted in August on theft charges. view article arw

FYI......THE TEXAS TRIBUNE – A former University of Texas at Austin facilities director facing felony charges ran an elaborate financial scheme from his perch at one of the state’s top law schools, costing the university nearly $1.6 million, an internal memorandum released Friday found.  A sternly worded letter from a university provost blamed the law school dean for “serious failures” in oversight, and the law school must pay for a continuous audit of its internal business operations for the next year. The audit will cost about $110,000. view article arw

Rocky Killion, superintendent of the West Lafayette, Indiana, public school district, is a fighter for public schools. A few years ago, he helped to launch an outstanding film about the extremist assault on the public schools by privatizers; it is called Rise Above the Mark, and it showcases the good work done in Indiana’s public schools. Now Rocky Killion is suing the state of Indiana for permitting an “unconstitutional land grab.” The legislature passed a law in 2011 declaring that any unused schools must be sold to charter operators for $1. Rocky Killion says this is wrong. The schools were paid for by the taxpayers, and they belong to the district, not to charter operators. view article arw

Deputies arrested eight Leander ISD students Friday for the vandalism of an elementary school last month. District officials said the arrests happened at around 9:20 a.m. at Cedar Park Middle School. The vandalism happened at Naumann Elementary School on Thursday, Aug. 8. view article arw

Two brothers in south Texas who hadn't cut a portion of their hair from birth won a federal religious liberty case against their high school. The U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas ruled in favor of Catholic brothers Cesar and Diego Gonzales, represented by religious liberty law firm, Becket, against Mathis Independent School District last Thursday after Mathis Middle School had banned the brothers since 2017 from participating in extracurricular activities and sports for allegedly violating the dress code. view article arw

Washington (CNN)The Supreme Court cleared the way for the Trump administration's rule that dramatically limits the ability of Central American migrants to claim asylum to go into effect nationwide while the appeals process plays out.  Wednesday's order is a major victory for the administration, which argued the rule was necessary to screen out "asylum seekers who declined to request protection at the first opportunity."  "BIG United States Supreme Court WIN for the Border on Asylum!" President Donald Trump said on Twitter. view article arw

EDINBURG — After about two hours of oral arguments, District Judge Romeo Flores on Wednesday requested that more evidence be presented with regard to a McAllen school district election contest before making a decision.  This allows for the attorneys to move forward with finding evidence.  Gina Karam Millin filed a petition for an election contest in June against school board member Tony Forina, following a closely contested race in May in which he defeated her by 12 votes in the race for Place 4. view article arw

A hearing for a contested McAllen Independent School District school board election is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. view article arw

A hearing is set Wednesday for the election contest between Gina Karam Millin and Tony Forina with regard to McAllen ISD’s May election, the latest action in a relatively quiet dispute. Filed through her attorney, Ronald Hole, in June, Karam Millin alleges in the petition that McAllen ISD “systematically promoted” Forina, who defeated her for the Place 4 seat in the election by 12 votes — 2,759 votes to 2,747. She also charges that a curriculum audit that would have been “very damaging,” according to the petition, was not released until after the election. view article arw

The University of Texas said Monday an internal review of athletics admissions after the school was snared in a national bribery scandal found no additional cases of students fraudulently awarded entry. Texas said it reviewed more than 800 athletes enrolled from summer 2012 to spring 2017, and all men's tennis athletes over the last 18 years, a span that would cover former tennis coach Michael Center's time at the school. view article arw

Former Beaumont Independent School District electrician Calvin Walker is scheduled to be back in the courtroom Sept. 16, after multiple attempts to appeal his fraud and money laundering case and preventing it from going to trial. A pool of potential jurors was given a questionnaire Monday morning, with jury selection to begin next Monday according to Jefferson County District Attorney Bob Wortham - who noted that the schedule is subject to change. view article arw

No one is keeping tabs on the high schools. Title IX, passed in 1972, guarantees that all institutions that receive federal funding must provide equal opportunities, facilities, and supplies to students regardless of their gender. In athletics, that means that for every position on a team available to a boy, there must be a position for a girl. Since the passage of Title IX, girls’ participation in varsity high school sports has increased tenfold, to almost 3 million players. view article arw

With GBRA officials showing no signs of reversing course on their decision to drain the Guadalupe Valley lakes system, the water authority is facing push back in city halls, school board rooms and the courtroom.A visiting judge is scheduled to convene in the first hearing regarding attorney Ricardo Cedillo’s petition filed last week to stop the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority’s plan to dewater the lakes at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, the lawyer said. Cedillo filed the petition on behalf of 10 residents who live along Lake McQueeney and Lake Placid. view article arw

The family of a 7-year-old Central Texas girl has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging her former school district kept losing her by putting her on a bus when she should have stayed on campus for an after-school program. view article arw

There is not enough evidence to prove the way charter schools are funded in Mississippi is unconstitutional, according to a recent decision issued by the Mississippi Supreme Court.  In June, attorneys from the Mississippi Southern Poverty Law Center and state Attorney General’s office argued in front of the court about the constitutionality of charter school funding. On Thursday, the court upheld a lower court’s decision that the plaintiffs “failed to demonstrate” that using tax dollars to help fund charter schools is unconstitutional. view article arw

Parents of a former Teravista Elementary School student are suing Round Rock ISD, claiming the school lost their daughter on several occasions. view article arw

One Sunday night in May 2019, Kerri Owens—a special education paraprofessional who works with disabled students at a high school in Allen, Texas—posted a graphic on her Facebook page lauding the supposed health benefits of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating chemical compound derived from hemp and cannabis plants. One week later, she lost her job. She believes the CBD graphic was the reason. "Is CBD good for you?" read the graphic. It then answers its own question. "Well your body has an endocannabinoid system. It doesn't have a Zoloft or ibuprofen system. Case closed." view article arw

A former employee is challenging his dismissal from the Monte Alto Independent School District, alleging he was wrongfully terminated by the district for “perceived political association” with former board members. Pete Riojas, the former executive director of business administration, filed a petition through his attorney, John Shergold, against Monte Alto ISD and four current board members. Riojas filed this petition in U.S. District Court in McAllen on Aug. 23. view article arw