There has never been a better time to be a Bonham Warrior!
By Chance Roberts
Apr 18, 2019
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Bonham, Texas -- It is exciting time in Bonham ISD! All of our programs district-wide, from academics to extracurricular, are having successful seasons and representing Bonham well. The “Team of 8” (school board + superintendent) is frequently celebrating these accomplishments and I could not be more proud. Bonham ISD is a truly a schoolhouse undivided.

In December, Mrs. Kelly Trompler became the acting superintendent and the welcomed increased presence of the superintendent’s office on campus and at school events has been noted.

A new program of telemedicine has been implemented in conjunction with Children’s Health that provides low to no-cost healthcare and in-house testing for strep & Flu. It is a great time to be a Bonham Warrior!

Unfortunately, with success comes critics. I would like to speak to some inaccuracies that have been reported in the media lately. Although bound by confidentiality, I will speak globally about these issues.

Generally speaking, when a board can come to a “separation agreement” with a CEO/ Superintendent of a school district, it is far more financially responsible than pursuing other methods. Statewide, superintendents are hired on a 3-5 year contract, and the district is contractually bound to said contract in its entirety unless otherwise negotiated. Unfortunately, this sometimes puts board members in a position to vote to exit a contract that they never voted for to begin with. This practice is done all across Texas in ISDs when there is a mutual agreement that employment should end.  It is never an easy thing for a board to do. However, in these instances, the monies are contractually allocated and would not have otherwise been spent on teacher’s salaries and other educational resources.

Bonham ISD retains Walsh Gallegos as the Attorneys for the School District. The school district routinely uses this firm for legal services in the course of doing business. These services include but are not limited to: contract review, policy review, legislative update, contract negotiations, grievances, PIA requests, litigation and employee hearings. As board president, I am routinely briefed on pending legal matters via phone. Occasionally, at an additional cost to the district, legal council is hired to consult or investigate matters that would otherwise be a conflict for the district's own retained council to do.  To insinuate that one year’s legal fees are a direct result of any one item is absurd and inaccurate. In addition, to insinuate that hiring a third-party firm was done to defend individual board members is also inaccurate. If board members were to need legal defense of an action taken while acting in their official capacity, the retained council would do this.

When a board member is sworn in as a “public official,” communications that would not otherwise be sent or received had he/she not been a board member becomes subject to the PIA. This act in no way limits a board members right to “free speech” nor does it limit his/her ability to communicate their personal feelings about others. A violation of the “Open Meeting Act” would only occur if a quorum of the board were deliberating or voting through messages. The “assumption” of how a person may or may not vote does not constitute a violation. There has been no violation of this Act.

While serving as a board member, I routinely receive complaints. In this scenario, the duty of a board member is to assist the complainant to the appropriate channels to have their complaint heard. In every case I do just that and any allegation of knowing about or allowing “stalking” is simply false.

It is also important to note that a grievance, much like a police information report, is an allegation. When a grievance is filled, an investigation of fact is done. When the board feels an investigation has revealed wrong-doing, relief is typically provided. I encourage you to read the minutes of the Regular Meeting held on February 25, 2019.

While there may be more one-sided narrative published in the future, I leave you with the old saying “there are two sides to every story.”

Go Warriors & Lady Warriors,

Chance Roberts