By FRANCISCO E. JIMENEZ
The San Benito CISD Board of Trustees approved the reinstatement of Superintendent of Schools Antonio G. Limón after two hours of closed session talks on Monday, May 26.
The Board also voted to enlist a firm to search for a new superintendent, at which point Limón will leave the superintendency to serve the school district’s Human Resources department.
Trustees met the morning of Memorial Day at the SBCISD John F. Barron Administration Building for a special meeting, which continued the talks that began at a regular meeting Wednesday, May 21. It was on May 21 when the Board discussed Limón’s suspension and the subsequent investigation into the superintendent for four hours before reconvening in open session to take no action in lieu of further consideration.
At Monday’s meeting, the trustees voted 5-2 to reinstate Limón effective June 5. Board Members Yliana González and Fatima Huerta represented the opposing vote while Board President Arnold Padilla, Vice President Hector Leal, Secretary Oscar Medrano and fellow trustees Anna Cruz and Angel Mendez approved the superintendent’s reinstatement.
Interim Superintendent Dr. Ismael Cantu, who has led the school district since his predecessor, Alfonso Obregón’s contract expired in November 2013, will remain in said capacity following a 10-day period.
“At this point, our current superintendent has a 10-day exiting clause,” Padilla said after the meeting on Monday. “We’ve given Dr. Cantu the opportunity to work those 10 days. He’s been officially notified today that his 10-day notice has been called. June 5 will be the effective day.”
The board members were in executive session for just over two hours before coming to a decision. A few members of the community spent their Memorial Day awaiting the decision, including Limón, who was also present at the May 21 meeting.
“My family and I thank God that the outcome has been reinstatement,” Limón said after the Board voted to reinstate him on Monday. “I look forward for a joint press release coming out from both parties basically stating that the investigation is completed with no adverse findings. We’ll wait to discuss the rest of the terms of the settlement once those have been signed, but I’m very happy to have been reinstated as superintendent and continuing so until the time that the settlement calls for.”
Limón said that part of his settlement includes his return to the superintendency and remaining there until the Board selects a new superintendent.
“Our public relations officer will be putting out a statement for the district,” Padilla said. “I think the trustees are happy with the decision made. We’re ready to move this district forward and keep things moving in a positive direction. The other issue is that we took action to solicit for a firm to hire a new superintendent. We look forward to that new opportunity.”
It was on May 23, 2013 that Limón was suspended with pay in a motion approved by González, Huerta and former members June Aguilera and Julian Huerta. A near year-long investigation into more than 60 allegations against Limón ensued and was conducted by Guerra and Farah PLLC at an hourly rate of $150. The probe in question incurred the district over $20,000 as well as payment to Obregón and Cantu – the former was being paid $717 per day, which was based on Limón’s $165,303 yearly salary, while the latter made a daily amount of $550.
“It’s been a year of getting closer to God,” Limón said. “It’s been a year of wondering what the future holds. It’s been a year of being with my family and going through the stresses and the pressure associated with the stigma of being suspended and knowing perfectly well that nothing was done to deserve that. I thank God that in the end, everything has come out OK.”
When asked about what his future holds following his reinstatement, Limón said, “[Now] we move forward with the district, trying to get everything ready for the upcoming school year. We need to get everything prepared, look at our budgets, look at our staffing, look at all the things that we need to do, and at the same time get ready to transition for when a new superintendent does come in.”
For the rest of the story on the reinstatement of San Benito CISD Superintendent of Schools Antonio G. Limón, including information regarding the findings of his investigation as well as additional coverage, pick up a copy of the May 28 edition of the San Benito News or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.