By J. NOEL ESPINOZA
Special to the NEWS
A week after the firing of Jack Garcia, the longtime director of the After School Program, San Benito Consolidated Independent School District administrators still have not revealed the reasons behind his termination.
Since last week, the NEWS tried via email to inquire about the details of Garcia’s dismissal but to no avail.
On Wednesday, Interim Public Relations Director Isabel Gonzalez confirmed the firing via email but declined to provide any details.
“Jack Garcia was terminated on Thursday, March 28, 2019,” the email reads. “The District cannot comment any further as it is a personnel matter.”
In the same email, Gonzalez said Terry Padilla will be serving as Interim Director of the After School Program. “Ms. Padilla has worked with the District’s ASP for nearly 20 years,” Gonzalez said in the email.
Garcia, who worked for the district for 22 years and was also the district’s chess coordinator for more than a decade, ran afoul after he purchased $17,000 for a group rate flight to take more than 50 students to a recent chess competition in Houston. After placing Garcia on administrative leave, school officials launched an investigation.
In an email confirming Garcia’s suspension Feb. 22, school officials stated that “all credit card purchases require an approved purchase order prior to use of such card and no employee shall order or receive goods without an approved purchase order.” Under the district’s policies, the email reads, “The expenditure of funds shall be under the direction of the Superintendent or designee.”
In addition, under responsibility for debts, the email reads, “Persons making unauthorized purchases shall assume full responsibility for all such debts.”
On Tuesday, Edward “Tony” Conners, an Austin lawyer and Garcia’s legal representative, said the school district gave Garcia last week a letter stating his termination because he “violated district policy, practices, or procedures.”
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