Progreso ISD under scrutiny of conservators

The Texas Education Agency is stepping in to help run Progreso ISD.

The school district will now be assisted by two conservators to address several ongoing issues.

TEA's Director of Governance Ron Rowell was present during Progreso's special school board meeting Tuesday night.

He said his agency is there to help the district get back on the right track.

The Progreso Independent School district is now under the watchful eye of two conservators.

This comes six months after a complaint prompted an investigation by the Texas Education Agency.

"Problems on finances, problems on expenditures and federal grants, title monies- state and federal title monies," explained Rowell, "Documented issues of board members and kickbacks."

That isn't all, Rowell said some of the Progreso school board members have been overstepping their bounds by trying to get involved in day to day operations of the district.

The board also has yet to submit its 2013 Annual Financial Report which was due January 28th, 2014. Janie Reyna, an activist in Progreso, told Action 4 news that her community has been fighting for change in the district for the last 8 to ten years. "It took us awhile. Someone really heard us out and to see what we were telling them was going on in our district was true all this time, we were real happy," she said with a smile.

However, Rowell says there is no quick fix. "They don TMt have any kind of procedures or processes in place to show us that the training is going on for people. The person, I think, is working hard-it's just the lack of experience and knowledge right now, he said.

It's why the TEA has assigned Herimelinda Romeros and Dr. Richard Clifford at $85 an hour, four to five days a month, to work alongside the school board and district for the next year.

"Hopefully, these conservators will be working hand in hand with our superintendent who is trying to get everything back to normal. So we have a lot of hope. Everything is going to be good for progreso now," said Reyna.

Action 4 News also spoke to both the Superintendent Fernando Castillo and School Board President Olga Oveido, who said they are glad to have the conservators in Progreso.

They believe the conservators are needed to assist in the reorganization and transition of their school district.