Tue, 19 Mar 2013 00:16:45 GMT — A contract with Community Loan Center to provide pay-day loans for Brownsville Independent School District employees, was approved by the school board on a 4-3 vote.The loans would have an 18 percent interest rate plus a $20 administrative fee. BISD is responsible for billing employees on their loans, through payroll.Board members Lucy Longoria and Caty Presas voted against it."After doing the research that I've done, not one single district out of 1,000 districts in the state, has ever voted - have any board members - voted to bring in a pay-day loan for their employees," Presas said.The Employee Benefit Committee approved this service unanimously, and Vice-Chairman Patrick Hammes, said this is a voluntary program at no cost to the district.He adds some teachers and staff have not had a pay increase in at least three years, and this is just one way of helping them get through the tough economic times.According to BISD, a survey by 2,500 employees shows they favor the services.Presas and Longoria believe getting involved with such a service might actually put some of their employees in more debt."If you offer employees a loan at 18 percent, that's not going to help them, Longoria said. I mean, you're going to add another payment."Furthermore, they claim Board President Enrique Escobedo did not let them do their job, and questions about the service were left unanswered."He cut us short and said, 'I agree with this and I'm making a motion, TM and he did not let me speak, Longoria said. I still hadn't had the floor for my chance to talk, and he didn't let me. (He said), ~I already have a motion on the floor, TM and they voted on it."Presas said the board is divided and has lost track of what is most important - students and their education."It is unfortunate that school districts have to deal with so much money and when it comes to contracts, at the end of the day it's all about the contracts, Presas said.Longoria has filed a complaint with the Texas Commissioner of Education asking for a monitor BISD meetings.
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