Progreso school board president speaks out following TEA investigation

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The TEA also notified the board and superintendent that the district’s accreditation status had been changed from good standing to accredited-warned.

/ Action 4 News

Progreso school board President Juan Ramos Jr. sat down with CBS 4 News just after the Texas Education Agency announced its plans to oust all seven school board members and superintendent.

The TEA released a letter Wednesday, which details the agency TMs plans to replace all Progreso school board members and superintendent. The letter, which went public on Friday, was sent in an effort to ameliorate a systematic breakdown.

The TEA also notified the board and superintendent that the district’s accreditation status had been changed from good standing to accredited-warned.

“It hurt me because knowing that my school, district, my teachers, my administration have worked so hard to pick up the school. For somebody just to give you a slap in the face, it TMs hard, it’s hurting.” Ramos said.

All school board members, some of which were elected just this year, could be out of a job by the end of this month and replaced by new, TEA-appointed board managers. Superintendent Martin Cuellar, who was appointed in July, was also ordered out.

Ramos said he was disappointed to read the letter and the allegations. He said that in the letter, Michael Williams, who heads the TEA, said the board missed meetings, appointed an inexperienced superintendent and expressed concerns with teacher pay raises.

“We only missed one meeting on April 28th,” Ramos said. “I am not going to lie, we had about a dozen teachers leave the district because of the pay, and that is why we pushed it as a board that we had to give those raises.”

Conservators have been monitoring the school board’s operations since the TEA began a corruption investigation in 2013.

Findings from that investigation were released just a few weeks ago, in which the TEA states the district suffered a “systematic breakdown.”

In the report, the TEA also said former district board members misused thousands of taxpayer dollars. That same year, former school board President Michael Vela was sentenced to six years in federal prison for his role in a bribery scandal.

Ramos said he chose to speak out after surprised residents flooded his office with questions and concerns following the news.

He said Williams doesn TMt see the district first-hand.

“Come down and see these kids, what these teachers are doing ” the great job we TMre doing,” Ramos said.

Ramos and the other board members will remain in their posts through September 30, but until then, Ramos said he will fight to keep his chair. He said he has a lawyer and plans to appeal the TEA TMs decision. A lawsuit against the TEA is up for discussion during an emergency board meeting set for Monday.

Ramos said he believes he will be able to keep his post.

Honestly, I think so, I think so. And I TMm going to fight super hard to get back on board, Ramos said.

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