By J. NOEL ESPINOZA
Special to the NEWS
Concerned residents filed a petition Tuesday with the Cameron County District Clerk’s office to remove Michael A. Vargas as president of the San Benito Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees.
Present to file the petition were Janie Lopez, Oscar Medrano, Rosalinda G. Garcia, and Sandra Tumberlinson. In the request, petitioners cite Vargas’s July 5 driving-while-intoxicated charge in Harlingen and the board’s changes to school board policy in an effort to allegedly retain Vargas’s position as board president.
According to the petition, the goal is now to involuntarily remove Vargas from office.
Filed in Brownsville, supporters of the petition were also joined by supporters of another petition to remove Erasmo Castro, a school board member of the Brownsville Independent School District, who was also arrested by Brownsville police for the same charges, “driving while intoxicated,” on Sept. 2.
The News asked Vargas for comment regarding the petition, but he refused during Tuesday’s special board meeting. In a text message, Vargas said, “Any questions on the matter posed, refer to my legal counsel, Dan Sanchez.”
Sanchez said he recommended to Vargas not to make any comments to the media.
The petition filed with Cameron County District Clerk Eric Garza was supposed to go to 107th State District Judge Ben Euresti, but he recused himself, saying that he cannot handle the case because Vargas is a well-known member of the community, according to Garza. The petition was sent to judge Missy Medary in Nueces County.
The removal of a school board member can be initiated by petition to the judge of the state district court where the trustee resides.
“We have to go to that other step since [the school board] weren’t able to reorganize,” said Rosalinda G. Garcia, one of the petitioners and a resident of San Benito who usually attends board meetings. “The majority voted and then they changed policy.”
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