LA MARQUE — The La Marque school district took action on an item from the executive session agenda Thursday night but the district is not saying what the action is.
After spending about an hour in executive session, the La Marque board of trustees returned to open session Thursday night to approve a series of items. The board approved the hiring and resignation of some employees as well as an item clarifying that there will no longer be furlough days for employees.
The trustees also approved a motion made by Trustee Richard Hooker that lacked any specific details.
“I move to direct the administration and legal counsel to proceed as discussed in closed session,” Hooker said.
Trustees Terry Pettijohn, Annie Burton, Edna Courville and Board President Nakisah Paul approved the motion. Trustees Shirley Fanuiel and Edward Crawford were absent.
After the meeting Superintendent Terri Watkins said she could not provide any details on the mysterious motion and said she had been advised by the school district’s legal counsel not to say anything on the matter because of attorney-client privilege.
On the board’s executive session agenda were items pertaining to hiring an assistant principal, a director for the STEM academy and clarification of salary and furlough issues, which were all voted on and approved separately.
The only other item on the executive session agenda was one to “Consider, discuss and take possible action regarding Energy for Schools; Interlocal Electricity Procurement Agreement between the District and Energy for Schools with Texas General Land Office and Cavallo Energy Texas; and the Reliant Electric Sales Agreement and contemplated litigation.”
The trustees never mentioned this item or discussed it in open session before approving Hooker’s motion. Watkins would not confirm that the motion was related to that agenda item.
After having time to speak to the district’s attorney on Friday, Watkins said the district has “the obligation to periodically enter and to renew energy agreements to supply electricity to the district’s facilities.”
“We’ve been asked to address concerns related to such contracts and we’ve engaged legal counsel to assist us in the process,” Watkins said. “Because the circumstances may implicate litigation, the district has been advised by counsel not to provide more information at this time.”
Watkins said the district’s attorney had advised her to say nothing else on the matter.
Sandra Carpenter and Melanie Charleston of the Walsh Anderson & Gallegos law firm are the school district’s attorneys. They did not respond to questions about the trustee action by late Friday.
The board’s action clearly violates the Public Information Act, said Charles Daughtry, an attorney representing The Daily News.
“In order to be in compliance with the notice provisions, the public must have been reasonably notified regarding what the board was voting on,” Daughtry said.
The motion Hooker made did not give the public a clue what was being voted on, he said.
“This violation is not even a close call,” Daughtry said. “It’s a clear violation.”