The previous article concerning the law passed in 1993 regarding conflict of interest for school board members addressed the legislation authored by Senator Chris Harris.  The bill, SB1342 in the 73rd Legislative Session was passed into law.

Finding the Texas Attorney General's interpretation of the law will take a better researcher than I am! Senator Harris, unfortunately passed away a couple of years ago, or I would ask him. Obviously the interpretation appears to have eviscerated the intent of Senator Harris..

When I was on the Board, whenever a matter came before the Board where a board member had a conflict of interest, that board member just abstained from the vote.

Such an action is a wimp-out in my opinion.  When two or more board members are there because they have a vested interest in being there, they just cover for the other guy by voting for his stuff and reciprocity sets in.

Finding out which board members have ownership or a vested interest in someone or some business that does business with the District is not easy.

First of all let me state, that neither I nor anyone in my family every made a nickel off of my service on the school board.  In fact my being on the KatyISD Board COST my family income.  My husband when I was on the Board worked for 3COM which often called on school districts.  When I got elected, I asked my husband to make sure that such calls by 3COM to Katy ISD stop, and their main competitor, Cisco, then took over whatever business there was to be had in the Katy ISD.

If someone on the board sells things to the district, they are required to file a conflict of interest statement that is then posted on the District's web site.

The only such statement that is there at present is from Henry Dibrell's wife.  She works in sales for a Venetian blind company on Mason Road.  Henry Dibrell on the other hand doesn't appear to work for anyone at present but appeals to political candidates in a side venture with his "Campaign Crate" services.  This is a business that offers computer services and web site services to aspiring political candidates and appears to me to be active only when there is an election transpiring.

But while I was on the board at least three board members abstained from votes because of conflicts of interest.

Board members should be on a School Board to further enhance the academic educations of the students that they represent, not to enhance the bottom line of their financial situation.

When Board members sell stuff to the school district or they use their association with the school district to curry favor in the business world, they are unprincipled opportunists in my opinion.

Having a law that causes board candidates to reveal their incomes, their spouses incomes, and all other business associations or trusts from which they derive income, would go a long way toward helping the public decide who belongs on a school district's board. Providing a copy of their Federal Income Tax returns for the current year every year they serve would suffice.

Board members without incomes (and/or without spouses who provide for their family's income) are just as suspicious regarding their intent in being a board member as board members who make money off of school districts. Their Federal Income Tax returns should also be a matter of public record.

Also, in my opinion, school board members should have to present proof of the education that they state that they have. Surely most would agree that a school district should be run by those who have an academic college education. (Note please, that the word academic eliminates a lot of "degrees" that are not academic in nature.)

KISD has had board members without college degrees, one who claimed to be a mechanical engineer when he was instead a CAD operator, who represented themselves as having a four year college degree when they obtained the degree on line or who simply have a two year technical certificate, and so on. The statement that someone attended such and such university when part of the name of the university is omitted  or not included so as to mislead is also deplorable.

Also school board candidates should have to provide for the public's perusal a copy of their college transcripts.  That wouldn't be a bad idea for school superintendents either. That way the public would know exactly what courses they took and passed, what grades they made, where they took the courses, if they actually attended a class or instead accessed the class on line or through the mail, when they did the coursework, and the exact name of the institution providing them with a degree. And yes, I do not believe that coursework that is obtained outside of a classroom is viable.  Such coursework cannot ever have the same value to the student as attending a class on a regular basis, in person, over a semester.

All copies of transcripts and diplomas should be certified copies.

When the State Legislature continues to omit elected officials at the local level from requirements that are foisted on all other state elected officials, they are shirking their responsibility.  The public deserves to know the real qualifications of the people that they elect whether that person is the governor or a local school board member.