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La Joya ISD approves new policy preventing some employees from holding elected office

La Joya ISD approves new policy preventing some employees from holding elected office
1 month 2 weeks 14 hours ago Friday, April 12 2024 Apr 12, 2024 April 12, 2024 12:18 PM April 12, 2024 in News- Education

Citing a need to prioritize student success, the La Joya ISD School Board unanimously approved a new policy that prevents district employees in “supervisory positions” from holding elected office.

The policy was approved during a Thursday night school board meeting without any discussion.

La Joya ISD School Board President Julian Alvarez III said the new policy “speaks of the district’s commitment to creating the conditions necessary for all La Joya ISD students to succeed.”

READ MORE: Some South Texas school employees could be barred from holding elected office after fraud investigation

“La Joya ISD appreciates those who represent and lead our community by holding elected office,” Alvarez said in a prepared statement during the meeting. “These positions require time, effort and energy to appropriately meet the high standards expected of elected officials and entail responsibilities that, functionally, overlap with the roles and responsibilities of administrative positions at La Joya ISD."

READ THE FULL STATEMENT HERE

The policy does not affect classroom teachers and support staff.

The new policy comes after the state appointed a board of managers to oversee La Joya ISD after five school board members and employees pleaded guilty to federal charges of theft and bribery. 

READ MORE: TEA report recommends La Joya school board be replaced by board of managers

Two of those individuals convicted — Rodrigo Lopez and Alex Guajardo — were district employees who served on the city council for Peñitas as mayor and council member, respectively. 

La Grulla Mayor Laura Solis resigned from office Thursday after the policy was proposed. Solis serves as the principal of Patricio Perez Elementary School at La Joya ISD, according to the campus website.

RELATED STORY: La Grulla mayor resigns following proposed La Joya ISD policy

“After much thought, and a discussion with my family, we decided at this time I need to focus on my family, and my professional career,” Solis said after resigning.

Among those affected by the policy is Robert Zamora Jr., the district's assistant fine arts director. He said he supported the state's decision to replace the previous board, but he feels blindsided by the new policy.

Zamora is campaigning to serve on the South Texas College Board of Trustees.

"The way I see it, we're unfortunately collateral damage because of the actions of others," Zamora said, adding that he plans to continue with his campaign.

According to the statement from La Joya ISD, current employees affected by the policy will be able to remain employed with the district until the end of their employee contract.

Channel 5 News is working to find out how the new policy will affect other public entities with school district employees who may resign.

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