NEISD Board Member Joseph Treviño
NEISD Board Member Joseph Treviño represents district three of the school system. Credit: Courtesy / NEISD

North East Independent School District Trustee Joseph Treviño, who was censured by his fellow board members this week, said he plans to appeal the decision.

On Tuesday night, six NEISD trustees explained why they believed Treviño should be censured and supported a motion to ban him from all district events and campuses, except for board meetings and the campuses any of his children attend.

Board President Shannon Grona listed instances where she said Treviño had attempted to exceed his power by directing district staff on day-to-day operations and getting special treatment.

On Thursday, Treviño defended his actions and questioned why district officials did not document the incidents they cited. He also said he would file an appeal with the State Board of Education by Monday or Tuesday of next week.

“Everything that [Grona] said that I did was never written up,” said Treviño. “I didn’t sign any documentation, it was always just come in and we will talk and that was it. … You’re going to compile two years of stuff into one day?”

Treviño represents NEISD’s District 3, a southwestern part of the district that covers LEE High School and Colonial Hills Elementary. He was appointed to his position in September 2017 and won an uncontested bid for re-election in May 2018.

In a letter written to the board as a response to the claims behind the censure vote, Treviño addressed each of Grona’s allegations, providing reason for his actions. Treviño plans to appeal the decision to the SBOE, although it is not clear that there is a process in place for such an appeal to the statewide board.

A spokeswoman with the Texas Education Agency told the Rivard Report that Treviño’s best course of action would be to file a formal grievance with the district, which would then go before the school board because it is the only body that can remedy the action in question.

If the board reaffirmed its previous decision, Treviño could then appeal the decision to state Commissioner of Education Mike Morath, the TEA spokeswoman said.

For guidance on disciplining Treviño, North East ISD trustees used a portion of the Texas Education Code and a case that recently went before Morath, a district spokeswoman said. In July 2018, a similar case came before the state education commissioner and the voting trustees who decided to ban one of their own had their decision affirmed by Morath.

In the case, the Webb Consolidated Independent School District board voted to prohibit Santiago Salinas, a trustee, from being on district property with the exception of board meetings and parent conferences.

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Salinas appealed the decision and in 2018, the commissioner concluded that Texas law allows school administrators, resource officers, and peace officers to exclude people who pose a substantial risk of harm and those who behave inappropriately for a school setting. He also found that another portion of the Texas Education Code allows school boards the right to acquire and hold real property, meaning they also have the right to exclude individuals from the property.

Treviño said not being able to be on campuses will prohibit him from representing his district.  As part of the appeals process, Treviño said he would request all evidence that North East ISD compiled against him and any write-ups documenting his behavior.

The censured trustee said he also plans to ask the state Attorney General’s Office to review NEISD’s board policy.

Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.