Paid team doctor position questioned further at Donna ISD

The superintendent at Donna ISD will look into eliminating the paid team doctor position, according to school board president, Alfredo Lugo.

Donna ISD TMs team doctor is paid $36,000 a year, according to school board member Efren Ceniceros.

Dr. Michael Flores, a school board member for the last two years, received the labor contract from the district to be team doctor in early August.

Superintendent Roberto Loredo's decision to pay a board member has come under fire from both physicians and members of the community.

Some called the move "a conflict of interest and waste of taxpayer dollars.

"It's not ethical," Linda Estrada, president of the TSTA/NEA union in Donna said.

Flores did fill out the necessary disclosure forms as required by state law, according to the superintendent.

Loredo also said he checked with legal council before the decision to hire a school board member.

Two long-time community physicians are against the district TMs decision to pay a board member for the position.

They have offered to perform the duties of team doctor for free as volunteers.

Dr. Jose Sandoval has been practicing family medicine in the City of Donna for more than 30 years.

"This position should not be a paid position," he said. "We have plenty of physicians in the community that would be willing to do it at no cost at all."

Turns out most neighboring school districts like McAllen ISD, Weslaco ISD, Harlingen CISD, Mercedes ISD and PSJA ISD, do not pay for team doctors.

Superintendents and athletic department members said physicians assist athletic trainers and EMS personnel on a volunteer basis.

Dr. Donna Mery, a former volunteer team doctor for the Weslaco ISD, also offered to volunteer as Donna ISD's team doctor.

"It's upsetting to us other physicians because we are in a dire situation with the economy."

Lugo confirmed with Action 4 News that the district could make the change if student safety would not be jeopardized.

I want to make sure we have a volunteer doctor at every game, he said.

Loredo said he was happy with the performance of Dr. Flores, who served as the district TMs medical director before resigning in March.

Flores said he stepped down to help save the district money.

Fellow board members, like Ceniceros, called for the position to be eliminated because of the perception of a conflict of interest.

Superintendent Loredo has asked doctors who would like to volunteer to contact the district.

Dr. Flores said in a text message to Action 4 News that he would no longer comment on the investigation.

In a previous interview, he said how he has always looked out for the best interest of Donna ISD students.

Ceniceros agreed Flores was hard-working, but added how the position should not be paid.