LA MARQUE — On April 11, the La Marque school district executed a legally binding agreement for the resignation of its superintendent. 

The following day, The Daily News filed a records request for all correspondence related to the resignation of then Superintendent Ecomet Burley, but that request was ignored by the school district. On several occasions in the weeks that followed, school district officials said both over the telephone and in emails that correspondence approved by trustees in March did not exist. The district did not provide other documents related to the resignation until late May. 

On March 27, the La Marque school district trustees authorized “the district’s attorney to issue correspondence as discussed in executive session.” Less than a month later, Burley resigned.

On March 28, The Daily News requested the letter approved by the trustees. That same day Burley emailed The Daily News and said “the letter you seek has not been drafted and will be considered privileged and confidential information since it will be drafted by the board’s attorney to me.”  

On April 12, The Daily News again requested a copy of the letter along with any other correspondence related to Burley’s resignation. 

“Our previous request for this item was denied because the document did not exist according to the LMISD response,” The Daily News wrote in its request. “It is our understanding the letter now exists and is subject to immediate release. This request seeks a copy of the letter and any response that may have been made to the letter and received by LMISD.”

But no documents were turned over by the school district. The district never sought an opinion from the state attorney general. Under the state’s Public Information Act, a government body has 10 days to seek an opinion from the attorney general if it seeks to withhold a document.

In follow-up conversations, school district officials claimed that no letter existed and never provided any other correspondence or documents related to Burley’s resignation.  

In a separate request May 7, The Daily News requested the terms of Burley’s resignation. 

It would take 21 days for the district to provide Burley’s resignation agreement as well as Burley’s letter of resignation and a letter of recommendation written by Annie Burton, then president of the school board, for Burley. 

But while school district officials did not provide the documents until May 28, the documents could have been available as early as mid-April.

According to a date across the top of the documents released by the school district, the resignation agreement was sent on April 11 — a day before The Daily News sent its second request for records pertaining to Burley’s resignation. 

The agreement was executed on April 11 and Burley’s letter of resignation is also dated April 11.

School district officials did not return phone calls and emails from The Daily News seeking answers to why the documents were not turned over in April.

And while the school district did provide the separation agreement, it has not responded to several other requests made by The Daily News.

A request, made last year, for travel records for all school board members as well as top administrators has not been answered, and the school district has not requested an opinion from the attorney general. Requests for copies of trustee-approved evaluations of Burley have also been ignored, as was a request for a copy of Burley’s offer of a separation agreement that trustees voted down in February of 2012, among others.

The school district has also claimed in the past that records did not exist only to have the newspaper obtain them later. 

In November, the La Marque school district prepared a document that outlined several plans to deal with the district’s budget shortfall that was given to trustees at a Nov. 8 budget workshop. The Daily News requested the document Nov. 15, but the school district did not provide it. Instead, 10 days after the request, the La Marque school district faxed The Daily News a single sheet of paper that simply had a budget summary.

Burley said in an email that The Daily News’ request had been met by the budget summary, and that plans, which outlined cuts and school closures, did not exist. But in December, The Daily News was able to obtain a copy of those plans. 

Contact reporter Christopher Smith Gonzalez at 409-683-5314 or chris.gonzalez@galvnews.com.

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(38) comments

Robert Buckner

I'm not surprised by this article. Is anyone else?

George Croix

They're running LMISD just like D.C. is being run.
Lie and stall long enough, and maybe the public will forget, or just get tired of waiting and 'move on'.

Ron Shelby

I don't clearly understand the need, use or intent of this "story". It sounds more like a testimony to be made in a court of law, or to the AG.

Walter Manuel

Gecroix, LMISD doesn't even compare on the scale of credibility with those in charge of LMISD right now. The majority of LMISD board of trustees and district officials tell so many lies they don't know how to tell the tuth anymore.

Robert, your right too, why would we be surprised by anything being done by LMISD officials and this incompetent board?

These people think that they can just make up the rules as they go and do whatever they want when they want?

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one being lied to and being made to wait for open records requests. I have one request regarding the police activity records from LMISD dating back to May 3rd that I am still waiting on, along with about 8 or 9 other LATE requests.

Since Thomasine Allen and Dr. Hudson have been in control getting information has been especially difficult to get.

Perhaps this is the difference between those who ACTUALLY can and those who simply lie about it.

I'm headed over to the administration building now to get my open records requests and if not I'll be back on the phone with the Attorney General's office.

Walter Manuel

Danggit! LOL

"LMISD doesn't even compare on the scale of credibility with those in charge of Washington DC right now".

Paul Hyatt

I hope you are not saying that Washington D.C. has ANY credibility in it at this time.... I for one think that LMISD are taking cues from them in their delaying tactics and their lying hoping that something else will come up that will further delay them having to tell the truth about what you were asking them about....

Walter Manuel

Another Oooops moment, "truth" not "tuth"

Robert Buckner

I wish it was testimony in a court of law Ron.

Walter Manuel

Robert and Ron, be careful what you ask for you just might get it.

I'm working on having all of these people sitting in front of a judge and jury hopefully real soon explaining exactly why they chose to do the things that they did or are currently doing.

Eveything being done in the dark will eventually come to light I promise ya'll that....

Gecroix, I was simply saying that I would hope that Washington DC had a little more credibility than what these district officials have proven to have, but that could very well beover stretching things just a tad as you so eloquently stated! [wink]

Walter Manuel

Well now that I have the solvency plan in my hands I can truly say that the villager idiots had no other reason to get rid of the LMISD police department except for personal reasons.

According to the solvency plan submitted to TEA the cost savings or money generated for 2014 by hiring a security company was a mere $23,000. Yep that's right $23,000!

The district's original budget for 2012 was $377,877 but the actual budget was $347,947 a difference of $29,930. The original budget for 2013 is $320,830 and the projected final budget is $306,744 with the difference being $14,086.

The school district who will be hiring the security firm Blue Moon to replace the police department. The budget for the 2013-2014 budget will be $266,236 a difference from the regular police department of $81,711.

The budget for 2015 will be $275,000 a difference of $72,000. Now the REAL difference between the two is the fact that the district is hiring security officers over certified peace officers. Security personnel can not write tickets, transport students, make arrests or anything else besides detaining a student and calling the LM police department to come and do for free everything that our LMISD police department was doing already.

What's really ridiculous is the fact that the school board members approved paying a financial advisor $51,000 to help them obtain the $3 million dollar loan and yet they just threw the savings out the window that they saved by eliminating the police department!

How much is a child, teacher and anyone else entering our school district really worth when you compare a security gurad to a police officer? I think the answer is quite simple!

I hope every parent in this district takes their child to another school district where they know that there's heightened security in place and not some guy off the street overseeing their child's safety that could easily be just as qualified to flip burgers at Mc Donald's!

The egg is now all over the board members faces, as well as, Thomasine Allen and Dr. Joanie Hudson. Both of the interim superintendents sold themselves to the devil just to make sure that they kept their own jobs!

What a disgrace!

Walter Manuel

"village" not "villager"....

Paul Hyatt

With LMISD reputation one wonders what kind of interest rate they are having to pay to get a 3 million dollar loan.... Since most loans are based on risk and I would think that they would be a huge risk on being able to pay that loan back makes me wonder what they are having to pay to get that loan and what is it going to cost the taxpayers of LM....

Walter Manuel

Paul, I understand the interest rate to be somewhere between 3-5%.

According to the solvency plan the bebt service which includes the $3 million loan will cost taxpayers $1,458,998 each year for 3 years.

Paying someone $51,000 to find you a loan is the most ridiculous thing any person with any good business sense could possibly have considered.

Just like the board did by raising taxes before the TRE miserably failed they're stealing from Peter to pay Paul.

I'm so glad that the district doesn't have credit cards because they would certainly have all been maxed out by now with this incompetent school board.

Perhaps this is exactly how they handle their own personal finances and why they don't see for a second that what their doing is just plain dumb.

Walter Manuel

Everybody should stay tuned to the latest breaking news regarding LMISD and the trouble that they are possibly facing with TEA.

As soon as I get my open records request back from the district I will be posting it. I'm certain we'll be seeing some resigninations of district officials over this incident! [wink]

As I've always said, everything done in the dark will eventually come to light.....

Robert Buckner

I doubt anybody can hold their breath that long Walter, geting those request filled is quite a challenge.

JBG JBG

Mr. Manuel, are these security guards from BLUE NOON UNARMED? If they are armed, what makes them worse than LMISD PD? In my opinion it does not matter who transport a suspect, as long as he gets transported, and if my assumptions are correct, LMISD PD has not transported a suspect in years. If they have, I'd like to look at their records, showing when and to whom they transported and released the suspects to.
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While I agree safety should be at a premium for students here or anywhere else, I am still not convinced that quality of safety is being provided to our children at this time. I'm not defending nor championing anybody here, and I'm just not taking any prisoners, because I know what I know.
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This district is in the tank for more reasons than one, but one of the most important reason is, there was no discipline and order in LMISD schools. This information came from many of those who left years ago, even from some family members who also move to other districts as well.
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If TEA does not take over here, we will see how BLUE MOON operates. I hear they are pretty good, depending on who you talk to, not to mention, I've seen some unarmed security guards in Houston who did a better job in their schools, working with other armed police officers, than many other armed officer did. Why, I can't say, but I do know the Schools went out and hired them and put a uniform on them. They answered to the principles, and not a commander or Chief. They either performed or they were fired in short order. They had to justify their existence on that particular campus.
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Houston law enforcement agencies works together in a team atmosphere, unlike down here where it seems not quite as unified.

JBG JBG

Corrections***second to last paragraph. principles should be Principals.

Walter Manuel

Your right Robert, while I'm waiting on the official report from the district I can report what some parents of graduating senior's have called and reported to me.

I've been told that since LMISD let their seniors out a week early they did not have enough hours completed as required by TEA to graduate and therefore their child walked and received a diploma that is ABSOLUTELY null and void!

Now all of these seniors will have to go back to school in order to complete the required hours in order for them to be qualified to graduate.

I am requesting the open records of all communications from TEA to LMISD and LMISD to TEA regarding this matter. To certify seniors for graduation and report to TEA that they have met all of their requirements for graduation when they haven't is simply fraud and we should expect immediate resignations from both co-interim superintendents and who ever else on the board signed this information verifying it to be true in order to be sent to TEA.

Mr. JBG, we'll just see how well a security company works in place of certified police officers and see the response time that it takes LM PD to assist at the school when they are already short of manpower themselves.

That's when we'll know how well our children are protected and if Blue Moon is as good as you say that they are? Perhaps the delay in getting me the police activity records is exactly what the district doesn't want anyone to know especially the LM PD.

I've heard that the "Good News" sign in front of the administration building has been taken back down again, perhaps their having a "Bad News" sign made in order to accommodate what's currently happening in the district?

The parents, students and taxpayers of LMISD deserve answers and no more lies from these district officials! This is down right pathetic that grown people can't even take care of their responsibilities and only further proves that their only concern is their paycheck! [angry]

JBG JBG

Wow! This thing keeps getting worse and worse by the day. I cannot imagine the anger, and ill-will the parents of seniors are feeling because their children were certified as fulfilling the correct requirements to be graduated, and now they are being told due to LMISD mistakes, they have not completed the requirements needed to rejoice at their accomplishments, which would've enabled them to move on to the next phases, and chapters of their lives.
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Who is responsible for this? This is a very serious matter, and there is no question about it. It really goes to show how far LMISD has tanked, as far as excellence and competence is concerned. No excuse for this and NONE should be given if this is true. All that is needed is people should start hand in resignations and asking for referral letters. (Common practice here, I hear).
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NO EXCUSES!!
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Excuses are tools used to build bridges to NOWHERE, and monuments to NOTHING!!
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Somebody said, "When it rains it pours!!" "It is pouring in on this school district now!" This is a deal breaker! How many parents will even allow their children to stay in this district next year is what I'd be wondering, if I was there.

Walter Manuel

Absolutely Mr. JBG, every student and parent has the right to be down right furious at this school district for their lack of competence in knowing what they did was wrong.

I can only imagine that the reason that they did the early release for these senior's was so that their COHORT numbers wouldn't drop the last week of school when students didn't return and it would go against the actual number of students being reported to TEA that would ultimately affect their accreditation status in which we all know is already in jeopardy this year because of poor test scores.

Somebody from the district got some BIG TIME 'splain' to do!

"I don't know anything about that" won't work this time for sure!

Walter Manuel

I forgot to mention that having to re-open the high school will also add extra expenses to the district for teachers, cafeteria, bus transportation, secretarial staff etc. that was not part of the solvency plan submitted to TEA or included in this year's budget.

I wonder how many students they will be unable to locate or how many will voluntarily return to school in order to complete their hours seeing how they already have their diploma despite it not being any good until they complete the rest of their hours?

Everyone who had a part in this disaster needs to be made available to the market immediately!

This sort of thing is exactly what happens to evil people who do evil things to others, kinda like a pay back of sorts... [wink]

JBG JBG

In addition to that, this is what comes with practicing "NESTOLOGY!" That is one science which will lead to destruction!

Walter Manuel

Well, I'm hearing that district officials have immediately gone into their normal lying mode about the incident and making claims that this incident is Mr. Burley's fault because of the school calendar days that students must attend each.

I fail to see where Mr. Burley had anything to do with these students early release seeing how he's been gone since April.

These district officials need to MAN UP and stop with their constant lies, public deception and cover up's already!

Oh. maybe Thomasine Allen might need to ask permission from Nakisha Paul first since she's telling everybody that Nakisha Paul is their boss and whatever President Paul says they need to do.

Well I got news for Thomasine, Nakisha don't run that district the superintendent does. Oh my bad, I forgot that we don't have a qualified superintedent right now so everyone please forgive me!

The board president is only the voice for the majority of the board members after conferring with all of them in a meeting and doesn't have any authority directing any district employee despite her wanting more power than she realizes actually comes with her position on the board. [yawn]

Surely Thomasine isn't such a weak woman that she's actually afraid of standing up to someone like Nakisha Paul and putting her in her place or could it be that she'll lick anybody's boots necessary in order to be the next superintendent???

I think they have a word for that, but unfortunately I can't use the word in the forum....

Walter Manuel

"qualified superintendent" not "superintedent"...

Ron Shelby

Missionary Man, You mentioned $1,458,998 for debt service for 3 years. That must be for more than just paying back the $3 million. Maybe building up a reserve. If it was just to pay off the $3 million loan, then that implies a 25% interest rate (ballpark).

I can't imagine that they can get 3-5% given their current credit. That would be around a AA- issuer, and they wouldn't be anywhere near right now. It would be interesting to see though, and find out why any lender would lend at that rate, unless they guarantee that the first tax revenues received will go to debt service before any operations.

JBG JBG

Well I don't know, but if they are blaming Mr. Burley for this fiasco or humiliation, it goes to show how inept and incompetent they really are as group of leaders. This portrays them as new driver behind the wheel of an automobile, but who happens to be blind and cannot see where he/she is going. Somebody else was hired to come in and QUICK TEACH them concerning how to run a district, and the lessons obviously were not learned. Then comes information that the school board members are directing district employees on daily activities, and now this fiasco dealing with students being recalled to procure additional credits to "REALLY" earn a diploma which was already given to them as valid under states rules and standards.
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I wonder what is the "EAGLES NEST" saying about this?
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It is utter ridiculous and absurd to even bring Mr. Burley's name in anything happening out there now! The man is gone, they chased him off, and now they at least ought to let his name rest! Fair is fair, even in a system of "NESTOLOGY!"
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I understand the science of "NESTOLOGY" ....been around it for years, live around it, had to fight it too! So I know it, inside and out!

Walter Manuel

Ron, it's my understand that the district is having to pay back the $3 million dollar loan plus the $1.6 million that the state overpaid the district because of the over projected student enrollment.

Sorry for the confusion.....

Walter Manuel

Let me show you Mr. JBG, how bad this district has become and yet district officials want everyone to believe that there's "Good News Coming From LMISD" and their planning on changing the names of our schools to "Academies" when they won't have "Academies" within the walls of those buildings despite the lies that district officials want people to believe.

Just take a look at all of the job postings on LMISD's website that I will post below and tell me that anything "Good" is happening in LMISD when they need to fill all of these positions after RIF'ing so many people:

1 Campus Instructional Technologist
3 High School Science Teacher
ACCOUNTANT
Custodians
Elementary Teacher
Groundskeeper
HIGH SCHOOL BAC AIDE
High School Inclusion Teacher
HIGH SCHOOL INSTRUCTIONAL AIDE
MAINTENANCE TECHNICAL FOREMAN
Middle School PE Teahcer
Middle School Science
Music Teacher - Band
Nurse Aide
Paraprofessional
Professional Secondary
RENAISSANCE SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER 6-9
Speech Language Pathologist Assistant
Speech-Language Pathologist
SS ELA CREDIT RECOVERY
SS ELS TEACHER PREK - KINDERGARTEN
SS ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS TAKS PREP
SS ESL INSTRUCTIONAL AIDE PREK - KIND
SS HISTORY TAKS PREP 9-12
SS MATH CREDIT RECOVERY 9-12
SS MATH GRADE 5
SS MATH GRADE 8
SS MATH TAKS PREP 9-12
SS READING GRADE 5
SS READING GRADE 8
SS SCIENCE TAKS PREP 9-12
SS SECOND SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER K-12
SS Secretary/PEIMS clerk
SS SOCIAL STUDIES CREDIT RECOVERY
SS SPECIAL EDUCATION TAKS PREP 9-12
Substitute Teacher
Summer School Elementary Teacher

So nowhere do we find certified "Technology" teachers being requested to fill all of these positions for the "Academy" and "Technology" schools that the district is bragging about having???

The good teacher's are gone and our students should be following them leaving the sorry teachers that noone else will hire behind to fill these soon to be empty buildings!

I rest my case....

Walter Manuel

I was told today that the district will be fined by TEA for the graduation fiasco, but the students would be allowed to graduate which is good news considering their being educated by such group of incompetent people who lack the experience to be in their current positions.

I've also been told that Mr. Burnell the principal at the high school resigned today because he can't work under such incompetent people. It seems that Dr. Hudson told Del Senna Frazier early on to make sure that the problem with the graduation hours was taken care of and yet it wasn't so they tried to lay the blame on Mr. Burnell.

Anyone with any working brain cells that has followed what's been happening with LMISD and their past failures can connect the dots enough to see that the common denominator in all of this is the poor job performance by Del Senna Frazier and yet she's still working for the district only because she's Thomasine Allen's "home girl" in and out of school.

Remember last year when Del Senna Frazier kept such poor records of the students that left the district that the district had to pay so many people thousand's of dollars all Summer trying to locate them only to receive an unacceptable academic rating because their drop out rate was too high?

Well, now we see that she didn't handle this job any better that she given the responsibility of taking care of and yet the district is planning on replacing Mr. Burnell with Del Senna Frazier as the principal at the high school!

It seems that poor job performances is the way to get promotions at LMISD and unfortunately if your an outstanding employee they simply kick you to the curb.

Everybody that has called me today has said that Del Senna Frazier was the lousiest principal in the history at LM High School before being transferred to the administration building and by what we've seen from her past job performances I can't see her having gotten any better!

RIP LMISD [crying]

Ron Shelby

Got it. Makes a bit more sense.

Ron Shelby

I still don't believe they can get that rate without guaranteeing that the first tax revenues go to debt service. ....And that kind of agreement would be very troubling. The kids should always come first.

Walter Manuel

Ron, the children of this district have never come first with the current school board and that's been proven time and time again by theirover obession in getting rid of Mr. Burley and now their obsession with getting rid of Chief Field's.

The police department was never a part of the original solvency plan so this proves my point. The savings in hiring a security company with no crossing guards to monitor the crossings isn't worth the risks, but then again that would go against every fiber in this boards body.

The only way that the board members can guarantee the loan would be by putting up all the schools and district assets as collateral. That's a huge risk seeing how the test scores are so bad this year more than likely the district will be put on probation this year and lose their accreditation next year leaving us no way to pay back the loan.

You watch all the non-profit charter schools pop up next year and I say that would be a great thing finally for the children of this district!

JBG JBG

Ron Shelby

When I was growing up, parents volunteered as crossing guards.

Walter Manuel

Oooppps!

That's "Mr. Gurnell" not "Mr. Burnell" who was the principal that resigned at the High School....

JBG JBG

Gurnell use be a football coach under the Great LMISD Coach Hugh Massey! He was pretty good too! I think he left and started tracking in the field of Administration, so he could one day become a Principal.
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Hugh was an outstanding young coach who would no doubt if he had lived, been in a major college program, or the NFL by now. His untimely death, affected many lives and careers. One was June Jones, Head Coach at SMU now. When Jack Pardee, Head Coach of the Houston Cougars, left to become the Head Coach of the Houston Oilers, he ordinarily would have carried June Jones him, but there were nobody left on Houston Cougars staff who knew the Run N Shoot the way it should have been known, in order that they could KEEP running it.
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If Hugh Massey had lived it is said that he was on his way to be an offensive coach for the Houston Cougars under Pardee. That means if Massey had been able to join that staff, he would have either been tracking with the Cougars, or an Assistant Coach with Pardee, helping Warren Moon, and Giff Nielson run the Run N Shoot!
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How do I know all this? I have a need to know and to study it! Football is like the Gospel to me, I thrive on it, and how I love them both!!!!!

JBG JBG

Oh I forgot to mention something. Who moved that "bust" of Hugh Massey out of Etheredge Stadium? I need to get it put back out there if it was moved! Might as well add one for Alan Weddell and Bryan Erwin too! I need that done on a Hurry up "HAUL OFF!! ( West Texas for get on it!)

Walter Manuel

Your right Mr. JBG, everything that everyone has told me about Mr. Gurnell has been nothing but good and that he was a really good principal.

Obviously with the new co-interim superintendents trying to run things that they don't have the first clue about how to do it good people are leaving the district and I can't blame them!

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