Archive for December 17th, 2021

HISD Mess 

A former HISD board trustee admitted to taking thousands of dollars from a vendor in a kickback scheme and pleaded guilty to a federal crime. Rhonda Skillern-Jones also serves as an HCC board trustee.   

The former HISD COO Brian Busby was also hit with multiple indictments. 

These folks don’t get any sympathy from Commentary.   

They are stealing from us taxpayers. 

The Chron E-Board today blistered Skillern-Jones and the HISD mess.  Here are parts of the blistering: 

How could she? 

That was our first thought when news broke Thursday that former Houston ISD board president Rhonda Skillern-Jones had admitted to accepting bribes in an alleged kickback scheme that also led to the indictments of the district’s former chief operating officer and a vendor. 

This is a trustee who constantly talked about standing up for kids and struggling against periodic budget crises to address the inequities among HISD’s campuses. 

“If you have schools that we have to budget, because they are in the red, toilet paper for — because their small school subsidy didn’t cover it — then you have schools that have enough money for two or three years to put a marble floor in, there’s a problem,” she told a Chronicle columnist in 2018. “Anybody who doesn’t see that’s an issue is obviously very, very biased or very, very dumb.” 

And anybody who thinks it’s OK to steal from those children? What’s the word for that? 

And this: 

While the failures of HISD trustees did inspire a crop of new candidates for board positions, the strongest among them did not prevail. We can only hope that the winning challengers whose campaigns hinged on denunciation of critical race theory and masks will wake up once they take office to the gravely serious responsibility they’ve been given. 

Will they use this latest development as easy ammo against the current administration that had no part in it? Will they play politics or get serious about reforms to bring accountability and transparency into a district that desperately needs it? 

This is a time to look long and hard at what happens when greed and hubris are left unchecked. This is a time for HISD’s board to truly focus on children whose many challenges in learning need not be exacerbated by the dishonesty of adults elected to help them. 

The “the strongest among them did not prevail” line is a clear reference to Janette Garza Lindner.   

Who knows if this is all of the HISD mess.     

It is disgusting. Thievery. Greed.  

For those interested, the college bowl season begins this morning with  the Bahamas Bowl. 

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