TEA Appoints Conservator for LISD


Lancaster Independent School District Sign | Image by WFAA

The Lancaster Independent School District (ISD) is being assigned a conservator by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) due to admitted actions taken by the district that violated aspects of the state constitution and education code.

Mike Morath, the TEA commissioner, appointed Carol Francois as the conservator and claimed the appointment “is necessary to prevent substantial or imminent harm to the welfare of the district’s students or to the public interest,” NBC 5 reported.

There were two allegations made against the district, but the district said that only one of them was substantiated.

According to a statement from Lancaster ISD:

“The first allegation is that the Lancaster ISD Board of Trustees approved a new contract for the superintendent of schools, Dr. Elijah Granger, and 11 days later approved a separation agreement with the superintendent.

“The second allegation is that possible conflicts of interest existed regarding the former board president, Ellen Clark, simultaneously serving as Lancaster ISD Board President and the Lancaster Education Foundation President.”

Elijah Granger was allegedly offered a $2 million buyout only days after signing a contract as the new superintendent, reported NBC 5. A judge later blocked the proposed payout to Granger.

The statement explained, “The TEA investigation found allegation one [against Granger] to be substantiated and a violation of Texas Education code 45.105 and Texas Constitution Article III § 51.”

The second allegation — against Clark — was unsubstantiated.

“I have never done anything wrong. I want to go away and live my life. I am 82 years old,” Clark told NBC 5.

The TEA said the appointment of a conservator still meant the district needed to follow all the applicable rules.

“This appointment will ensure district compliance and assist the current Lancaster ISD Board of Trustees in working as a team and in the best interest of Lancaster ISD students,” read the statement from Lancaster ISD.

“In addition, since the main subject of the investigation centers around board actions, the conservator will report back to TEA on the board’s development of a corrective action plan to address the non-compliance issues discovered during the investigation,” the statement continued.

News of the conservatorship appointment follows a Texas court ruling that has opened the way for the State of Texas to assert more control over local school districts whose school boards have been found in violation of state law or are dysfunctional to the point of producing deleterious student academic outcomes, like at Dallas ISD and Houston ISD, as previously reported in The Dallas Express.

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Mac Smith
Mac Smith
18 days ago

We need accountability from Morath before he takes over more school districts. The State took over the Edgewood district in San Antonio several years ago and Houston ISD this year. How much improvement did the Edgewood takeover bring? At what cost to the taxpayers? What justifies the State usurping power from elected representatives?