Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Education

Party Lines

By Bess Keller — December 12, 2001 1 min read

Once again, lawmakers in Texas seem ready to challenge the state school board’s role as the manager of investments for a $19 billion public education trust fund that provides aid to school districts statewide.

The moves are fueled by new allegations that some board members acted unethically, and perhaps illegally, in connection with the fund.

Thanks to Gov. Rick Perry, the board held on to its powerful role despite efforts earlier this year to rein in its exclusive say over the Permanent School Fund’s investments.

The Republican governor vetoed a bill in June that would have forced the elected board to seek the counsel of an outside panel of financial advisers. The board currently hires its own advisers to help it manage the fund’s investment portfolio.

Since the spring, however, fresh allegations of conflicts of interest for some board members and their advisers have arisen. Such charges sparked a legislative probe last year and led to the vetoed bill.

These allegations appear seem more serious.

Documents have surfaced suggesting that two current and one former board member may have been involved in influence-peddling. The documents were given to the Travis County prosecutor, who already was investigating the board for a possible violation of the state open-meetings law.

Speaker of the House James E. “Pete” Laney, a Democrat, wants the latest allegations investigated with an eye to recommending action in the next legislative session, in 2003.

“The gaps in the law regarding conflicts of interest are still there,” said Carlos Martinez, the House investigating committee’s general counsel.

Hoping to deflect criticism, the board of education’s chairwoman, Grace Shore, plans to establish a financial-advisory panel for the board this spring. But the panel, which will be picked by the board, is unlikely to satisfy legislators who opposed Mr. Perry’s surprise veto.

“The governor’s veto proclamation suggests that the state board should obtain expert advice in investments,” Rep. Terry Keel, a Republican member of the investigating committee, said after the veto. “This is the very reason why prior problems and conflicts of interest have plagued the current board.”

—BESS KELLER

A version of this article appeared in the December 12, 2001 edition of Education Week as Party Lines

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Project Manager (Contractor)
United States
K12 Inc.
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools
Special Education Teacher
Chicago, Illinois
JCFS Chicago
Elementary Teacher - Scholars Academy
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read