Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Granbury ISD School Board holds community complaint hearing

Posted

The Granbury ISD School Board held a public hearing on Nov. 9 where five Level 3 grievances against a GISD official were addressed in an executive session. Trustee Barbara Townsend was absent from the meeting.

Some public comments were made before going into the executive session that lasted over two hours.

The first public comment was heard from Monica Brown where she requested the grievances be heard in open session. Brown claimed if the district had the support from the community, voter turnout would have been a lot higher than it was. Brown also claimed that sexually explicit books have been given to the AP English students. Brown said she believes it was unjust of the board to censure Trustee Karen Lowery, and said some of Trustee Billy Wimberly’s comments, made during a special called meeting on Aug. 23 regarding Trustee Lowery’s entrance into the library, were “shameful and embarrassing.”

Trustee Lowery’s husband, Mark Lowery, also spoke during public comments. He claimed the board has tarnished his wife’s reputation. He also noted the board claims he has been aggressive toward the board. He pointed out that in the special called board meeting on Aug. 23, one of the public comments made was a woman shining a flashlight in Trustee Lowery’s face.

“You didn’t rebuke that lady for doing such a thing. That was truly a threat,” Mark Lowery said during the meeting. “I’ve never crossed the blue line (a line where speakers are required to stand behind separating them from the board), never cursed unlike the trustee that we’re going to have an executive session for cursed to me and was aggressive toward me and shaking his finger at me… I just wanted to have this moment so that the public can hear what actually happened back there.”

After Mark Lowery’s time was up Superintendent Jeremy Glenn noted that what he was referring to was not true, prompting Mark Lowery to come back up to the podium.

“He said get the hell out of this room is what he said,” Mark Lowery said to Glenn.

Trustee Melanie Graft and Trustee Lowery shared that the trustee Mark was referring to did in fact say that.  

The board also heard from Kerri Rehmeyer who said she has been diligently watching the board meetings.

“I have been appalled at the way that you have treated parents, taxpayers, the public and even certain board members,” Rehmeyer said.

She told the board the grievances needed to be held in open session in the interest of transparency.

“It is explicitly the public’s business as you are their elected representatives,” Rehmeyer noted.

Rehmeyer also claimed the people bringing grievances were promised audio recordings from the previous hearing but were never provided those.

Rehmeyer claimed the board picks and chooses which board meetings are broadcasted and claimed that was in violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

“You gladly reported and broadcasted your Salem witch trial of Trustee Lowery but decided to not even record the last special hearing on Sept. 11,” Rehmeyer said.

Todd Daniel had signed up to speak but was denied because he did not put his address on the signup form.

Daniel said since he had previously spoken, they had his address on file, and it was not needed.

After public comments finished, Trustee Graft attempted to make a motion that the grievances be heard in open session.

Glenn then read that under the Texas Open Meetings Act, complaints against a district official may be held in closed session and that an individual has a right to determine whether or not it’s open or closed.

Trustee Graft shared she would be going into the closed session under distress because she thought not holding it in open session was wrong and Trustee Lowery agreed.

The motion to move the grievances to an open session made by Trustee Graft failed, with Graft and Lowery in favor and the rest of the board opposed.

The board then went into executive session at 7:18 a.m. and heard the five Level 3 grievances, each against a GISD official, from Don Poe, Mark Lowery, Craig and Denise Mayberry, Jim and Monica Brown, Todd Daniel and Jerry Doherty. Since these grievances were heard in executive session, the details on the grievances were not made public.

The board came back from executive session at 9:29 a.m. and every grievance was denied by a 4-2 vote with Trustee Graft and Trustee Lowery opposing.

The next regularly scheduled school board meeting will take place on Nov. 13.