School & District Management

Acting Texas Chief Off to Rocky Start

By Mary Ann Zehr — July 17, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

About the same time that Shirley Neeley, the head of the Texas Education Agency, handed over the reins to then-Chief Deputy Commissioner Robert Scott this summer, he was faced with a storm of questions regarding his handling of contracts and grants, prompted by a report from the agency’s inspector general that was leaked to the news media.

Some contracts were not competitively bid and “were awarded to individuals with ties to TEA senior staff,” including Mr. Scott, says the report by TEA Inspector General, Michael J. Donley, which has been available to the public by request since July 6.

But nothing in the report has persuaded Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, to withdraw his support for Mr. Scott, who is serving as acting commissioner. Krista Moody, a spokeswoman for the governor, said last week that Mr. Perry is considering him, along with others, as a candidate to be the permanent state schools chief.

See Also

See other stories on education issues in Texas. See data on Texas’ public school system.

The controversy is just the latest political dust-up involving the TEA. Ms. Neeley, for example, left the commissioner’s post, which she had held for 3½ years, on July 1 after losing the governor’s support.

The report as released to the public contains two distinct views: the allegations in the original report from the inspector general, and an italicized response to those allegations written by “management,” according to Debbie Ratcliffe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency. She said last week that the TEA management response contains Mr. Scott’s perspective.

The response states, for example, that the Texas Education Agency “is not required to follow the competitive bid practices” for projects such as those administered by education service centers, which were cited in the inspector general’s report.

In addition, the agency management says that the inspectors made a mistake in alleging that Mr. Scott had negotiated a particular contract with a friend of his. According to the response, inspectors confused Mr. Scott with someone else who has a similar name and who worked for an education service center that administered the contract.

So far, the controversy has not hurt Mr. Scott’s standing with Gov. Perry.

“The governor has full confidence in Robert Scott as an honest and strong public steward,” said Ms. Moody, the governor’s spokeswoman.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the July 18, 2007 edition of Education Week


Special Education Webinar Reading, Dyslexia, and Equity: Best Practices for Addressing a Threefold Challenge
Learn about proven strategies for instruction and intervention that support students with dyslexia.
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.
Personalized Learning Webinar
No Time to Waste: Individualized Instruction Will Drive Change
Targeted support and intervention can boost student achievement. Join us to explore tutoring’s role in accelerating the turnaround. 
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools
Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Social-Emotional Learning: Making It Meaningful
Join us for this event with educators and experts on the damage the pandemic did to academic and social and emotional well-being.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Quick Hacks: How Schools Can Cut Costs and Help the Environment
Schools can take advantage of tax credits and grants offered in the climate change spending package Congress passed this year.
3 min read
Newly installed solar panels stretch out along the north side of Madison-Grant High School near Fairmount, Ind., on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017.
Newly installed solar panels stretch out along the north side of Madison-Grant High School near Fairmount, Ind., on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017.
Jeff Morehead/The Chronicle-Tribune via AP
School & District Management How This Principal Uses TikTok and YouTube to Build School Culture
A Louisiana principal has found that short videos reinforce what’s happening in the classrooms.
8 min read
Tight crop of hands typing on a laptop overlaid with a window that includes a video play button and red progress bar.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management Opinion To Have a Bigger Impact, Here's What You Should Stop Doing in Your Classroom or School
Teachers and leaders often want to lighten their load, but don't know where to start.
6 min read
shutterstock 1051475696
School & District Management Opinion The Pandemic May Have Eased, But There's No Going Back for Districts
Now's the time to rethink how to address—and solve—problems in education, explain several education leaders.
20 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."