LA MARQUE — Trustees unanimously agreed late Thursday night to wait until early June to take definitive action on an agenda item deciding the fate of the school district’s police department and its chief, Timothy Fields.
However, Vice President Nakisha Paul indicated that the board would be moving forward with previously reported plans to outsource work done by the department, which consists of four officers, including Fields, and seven crossing guards. Fields has been head of the district’s police since 2010, and his contract is up in June.
“In order for us to transition our police department, we need all the processes in place,” she said.
The board emerged from behind closed doors with the decision after more than two hours spent deliberating. Trustees Davey Jones and Stacy Crawford were not at the meeting.
The district will be seeking bids from a variety of places, Paul said, naming the constables’ office, the La Marque Police Department and Texas City police. She ruled out the district contracting with any private security companies, saying the students of La Marque would be better served by trained public officers.
The district will require a memorandum of understanding with any potential bidder before dissolving its existing department, she said.
Paul cited the board’s efforts to scale back spending as the main reason behind the trustees’ decision.
“Outsourcing the police department is something we need to do to save costs,” she said.
The department was budgeted about $315,830 for the current school year. Trustees weren’t able to specify Thursday night how funding or personnel would be reduced in an outsourced department.
The district’s financial woes continued Thursday, as a state-ordered financial solvency plan was rejected by the Texas Education Agency.
The board also approved one contract nonrenewal notice for an unspecified school employee.
Prior to the closed meeting, trustees recognized distinguished La Marque graduates, La Marque High School collegiate graduates and the salutatorian of the high school with certificates. Beaming parents took photos as the accomplished students posed with trustees and and the interim superintendent.
Trustees will meet again May 20 for collection canvassing and will take action on the future of the district’s police department in early June.