The Round Rock ISD board of trustees voted Nov. 27 after a 2 1/2–hour discussion to censure trustee Terri Romere three times for allegedly refusing to comply with board policy.
The board voted 5-1, with trustee Pauline Law as the lone dissenter on each vote. Censure is a formal statement of disapproval with no further consequences.
Trustees censured Romere on allegations of violating sections of board policy related to ethics and compliance with board operating procedures.
The board previously voted to censure Romere in April for conduct unbecoming of a trustee.
Romere said she received documents regarding attendance numbers for the district's alternative high school, Success High School, anonymously and asked Superintendent Jesús Chávez to provide her with attendance numbers for comparison.
In August, the board voted to spend $25 million to build a new Success High School because the school currently meets in portable buildings at Westwood and Stony Point high schools. Romere was the only trustee to vote against construction of the new school.
Romere said Chávez has not provided her the numbers and that she filed a public information request to obtain them.
“All I did was ask for attendance numbers, and no one has been willing to give it to me, and now you're going to censure me for doing my fiduciary duty,” Romere said.
Chávez said he felt that Romere had crossed a line and that she was conducting her own analysis. Romere said she is not conducting any investigation.
“When a board member asks for information, and it is information that is not related to a pending decision that has to be made, or that if a board member asks for too specific information and gets into the weeds into the administration of the district, I can raise my hand and say, 'Wait a minute, board, that's too much detailed information,'” Chávez said. “The board member does not need that [information] and that we can bring ... to the board as a whole.”
Law and Romere both said they felt the issue behind the censure was the district's refusal to share attendance numbers with a board member. Other board members said the issue was that Romere violated board policy by refusing to give the documents she received anonymously to the board for investigation. Romere said her attorney told her that she is under no such obligation.
“All I did was ask for the attendance numbers,” Romere said after the meeting. “That's all I did, and that's what they deem worthy of censureship. That's all I can say, really. If asking hard questions gets a trustee censured, then I'll be before the board again, because I'm going to continue to ask the hard questions, because I'm going to stand up [for] the constituents.”
Trustee Glen Colby said the board is legally bound to take action against Romere and that the censureship is not a personal vendetta.
“We are not here tonight because we disagree with a board member,” he said. “We are here because legal and local board policies have been allegedly violated, and we stand as a board to say that is not acceptable.”
Board President Catherine Hanna said Nov. 28 that whenever the board receives a complaint or comment, it must be forwarded to the superintendent. She said Chávez is willing to pursue an investigation but needs the documents Romere received to do so.
“I think the actions really speak fort themselves," Hanna said. "The board clearly feels that Ms. Romere has violated both the superintendent's contract and board's policy in refusing to turn over the report that she received."