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South East Bexar County Awareness: County Commissioner's Agenda Comes to Light on Southside Isd School Board
ACTION ITEM 1:
Another campaign promise perhaps. Nonetheless, biblical courses are not against the law, but are limited in the course instruction itself.
According to Texas Education Code Sec. 28.011, provides that school districts may offer an "elective" course in the content, history, literary style, and influence of the Old and New Testament.
Plain english, it's a history class about the bible, no preaching and no homework projects that pertain to the practice of the religion.
Legality of it: Not even the school board can change this:
The District may instruct students in the study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization. The study of the Bible or of religion for its literary and historic qualities, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, is consistent with the First Amendment. School Dist. of Abington v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963)
The District shall not require teaching and learning to be tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any religious sect or dogma. The District shall not adopt programs or practices that aid or oppose any religion. Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97 (1968) (holding unconstitutional a prohibition against teaching evolution); Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987) (holding unconstitutional a requirement that creationism be taught with evolution)
The District shall not prescribe a religious exercise as part of the curricular activities of students even if the religious exercise is denominationally neutral or its observance on the part of the students is voluntary. School Dist. of Abington v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963) (holding unconstitutional a requirement of daily Bible readings and recitation of the Lord’s Prayer); Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962) (holding unconstitutional required recitation of state-adopted prayer)
[For information on student expression of religious viewpoints in class assignments, see FNA]
In accordance with Education Code 28.011 and 19 TAC 74.36, the District may offer to students in grade 9 or above, and grant elective credit for:0)
- An elective course on the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and its impact and an elective course on the New Testament and its impact; or
- An elective course that combines the courses described above.
If, for a particular semester, fewer than 15 students at a District campus register to enroll in a course required by this section, the District is not required to offer the course at that campus for that semester.
The Board may offer an elective course based on the books of a religion other than Christianity. In determining whether to offer such a course, the Board may consider various factors, including student and parent demand for such a course and the impact such books have had on history and culture.
County Commissioner Supports Ms. Mendelsohn's Campaign Efforts
Action Item #2
In the last 4 elections, Sylvia Mendelsohn has earned approx. $18,000 plus from Chico Rodriguez and his brother Ciro Rodriguez for campaigning in the Southside ISD community; whether they were running for a political post or not, but Southside ISD had elections.
It has become blatantly obvious by the actions of this board that they have been doing Ms. Mendelsohn's bidding since elected to the board. Ms. Mendelsohn does not have an issue in telling them in public how they are doing and how they need to prepare for the next meeting; as she did to Mr. Chavez just after a meeting and before the room was even cleared. She walked up to the front of the room as he gathered his stuff and said "you did really well, but we need to work on your presentation". Now, we show that funds were given heavily to Ms. Mendelsohn as she was openly running the campaign for the former ESD6 members; all having an axe to grind with the Superintendent and former board because of the lawsuit brought on by the School board against the ESD6.
Now, that Ms. Mendelsohn and County Commissioner Rodriguez have placed their "inner circle" on the Southside ISD, they have taken funds from the district and spent them at an alarming rate. Over $3M have already been spent in less that 2 months in control. As Ms. Mendelsohn did with ESD6, this board is showing that they have no regard for the future of the district, it's all about spending now and paying back promises.
ESD #6; who no longer has any volunteer fire departments from the region; having cut funding and contracts with Ata Bexar Volunteer Fire Department, Sandy Oaks VFD and the now defunct South Bexar Fire & Rescue. Thanks to Ms. Mendelsohn and her "inner circle" members they are now trying to use the School District to Property to place a carpetbagger VFD from Northwest Bexar County, ESD #2 which are being paid with Southeast Bexar County taxpayer funds.
A taxing entity, using another taxing entity? Legal?
How much more can the community take?
With all that the newly elected board has done to the community of Southeast Bexar County, it is amazing to see how complacent or lazy those in the community are.
It has been said by many that it is fear of retribution by these individuals that keeps them at bay. Sadly, if no one gets involved, nothing will change and the only one's to blame, will be themselves.
Do you support the agenda?
A consultation with attorney about a settlement with Alma Guzman-Estrada.
- Case has gone to court and no merit was found. Plain english, she lost.
- Case is in the 5th Court of Appeals and a verdict has not been brought back or so it appears that the newly elected board, for which she campaigned for is talking about settling with Ms. Guzman-Estrada.
- She previously asked to settle for $650,000 instead.
The schools attorney's ever present at board meetings, must know something about the possibility of the district winning or losing the appeals case. The board regardless of what the law firm may or may not have advised. The "team" has shown blatant disregard and done to their liking instead of what is appropriate within in the law or otherwise.
And settled with Ms. Guzman-Estrada for $120,000 at the taxpayers expense.
Food for thought:
- If the school attorney's said settle, then the amount no matter the size, would hurt the district especially after all the funds this newly elected board has spent to date.
- If the school attorney's said, don't settle, it's a winning case for the district and her friends vote to settle anyway, then what?
Which category would that fall under?
RESTRICTIONS ON PUBLIC SERVANTS — PENAL CODE
“Public servant” shall mean a person elected, selected, appointed, employed, or otherwise designated as one of the following, even if the person has not yet qualified for office or assumed his or her duties:
- An officer, employee, or agent of government; or
- A candidate for nomination or election to public office.
Penal Code 1.07(a)(41)(A), (E)
Prohibited activities are covered by, but are not limited to, the following: 0.
- A public servant shall not intentionally or knowingly offer, confer, agree to confer on another, solicit, accept, or agree to accept a benefit:
- As consideration for the public servant’s decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other exercise of discretion as a public servant.
- As consideration for a violation of a duty imposed on the public servant by law.
- That is a political contribution as defined by Title 15 of the Election Code or an expenditure made and reported as a lobbying expense in accordance with Government Code, Chapter 305, if the benefit was offered, conferred, solicited, accepted, or agreed to pursuant to an express agreement to take or withhold a specific exercise of official discretion, if such exercise of official discretion would not have been taken or withheld but for the benefit.
“Benefit” means anything reasonably regarded as pecuniary gain or pecuniary advantage, including benefit to any other person in whose welfare the beneficiary has a direct and substantial interest.
Penal Code 36.01(3), .02
GIFTS FROM THE PUBLIC
The Superintendent may accept gifts and donations of property to the District on behalf of the Board if the value is less than $500, with the exception of gifts involving scholarship funds.
All other gifts and donations shall require Board approval before they may be accepted.
To be acceptable, a gift must have a purpose consistent with District goals and objectives. A gift shall not be accepted if it would:
- Begin a program that the Board would be unwilling to fund when the gift or grant funds are exhausted.
- Bring unreasonable or hidden costs to the District.
- Restrict any school program.
- Imply endorsement of any business or product.
- Conflict with policies or actions of the Board or law.
- Require extensive maintenance by the District.
.All gifts shall become the sole property of the District for its use and disposition as deemed appropriate.