Brownsville ISD board member faces nepotism indictment

Local News

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Brownsville Independent School District (BISD) board of trustees voted to affirm a measure concerning a member that is facing nepotism charges that claim she contributed to the appointment of a relative to a teaching position.

During a special board meeting on Wednesday, the board voted on the measure concerning Minerva Peña, 63, for nepotism charges she faces in Cameron County court.

At the meeting, members voted on a measure that drafts a resolution that prohibits Peña from BISD attending district buildings and events over the course of the investigation by the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office. However, Peña is not prohibited from attending BISD board of trustees meetings.

During the public comment section, some in attendance argued Peña could not have appointed the teacher in question because the district’s hiring process requires all appointments come from the superintendent.

Peña is charged with nepotism, a Class C violation of the Texas Government Code. She turned herself in on Friday and was released after posting a $5 thousand bond.

The indictment on Peña states she intentionally appointed or voted for the appointment of her daughter-in-law to a teaching position at Veterans Memorial Early College High School between June and August 2021. Her daughter-in-law passed away shortly after, though.

Board members chose to turn the matter over to the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office after a seven-hour meeting in September.

Following the motion passed on Wednesday, Peña took a moment to pledge her innocence and states she plans to cooperate with the investigation.

“I 100 percent assure the public I did not commit any of these violations,” said Peña. “People know me, they know how I work. None of this was done with me as directly doing any of the hiring. We’re gonna fight this case with everything to make sure we clarify so in the future nobody is accused of this without any due cause.”

If convicted, Peña could face a fine from $100 to $1,000.

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