TEA takes over Progreso schools after probe

PROGRESO — The Texas Education Agency sent Progreso school district officials two letters Wednesday stating the district will have a state-appointed board of managers starting January and its accreditation status will be lowered.

The letters are a result of an investigation that began in November 2013 after reports of corruption and mismanagement of funds led to the arrest of three district officials and prompted the TEA to appoint a management team to oversee the district.

After a nearly two-year-long investigation into the district, TEA Commissioner Michael Williams notified district officials Sept. 23 of his decision to appoint a new superintendent and lower the district’s accreditation status to “accredited warned” for the 2014-15 school year.

In November, school district attorney Kevin O’Hanlon and trustees Juan Ramos and Alejandro Alanis attended a formal review meant to allow district officials a chance to present their case to the commissioners as to why the agency shouldn’t go to such lengths.

The trustees’ appeals were denied, according to TEA spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe, who said the commissioner’s decision will be put in place in the new year.

“The current management team’s appointment will remain active until the board of managers is installed, at which time the management team’s appointment will be suspended,” according to the letter.

The letter also states the majority of the board members appointed are locals with close ties to the Progreso community.

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