By DAVID LOPEZ
Rio Hondo Independent School District Superintendent Ismael Garcia submitted his letter of retirement amid an executive session during Monday night’s regular board of trustees’ meeting.
Though not announced publicly, Garcia confirmed his retirement in a phone call with the NEWS, saying it will be effective June 30, 2020 when his contract is set to expire.
The superintendent was listed on the meeting’s agenda for an evaluation.
Garcia was under scrutiny by several members of the Rio Hondo community due to RHISD’s financial situation, with some taking to public comment to voice their concerns.
Rio Hondo resident Humberto Barrera addressed the board, explaining that it takes $65,000 per day to run a school district. For a 90 day period, he continued, the board should have an optimal fund balance of $8.5 million to work with. However, Barrera said, the school board only has $400,000 in their current balance.
The NEWS has requested the budget figures for the RHISD for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years under an open records request.
Former RHISD board member Roberto Lopez also spoke during public comments, saying he agreed with Barrera and that the board members’ friendly relationship with the superintendent would complicate their evalution of Garcia.
During a phone call with the NEWS, Board of Trustees Vice-president Claudia Villalobos said, “I am fully confident in the superintendent and the school board. Garcia has done great things for this district. (Serving on this board) is a privilege and honor I don’t take lightly.”
The Superintendent cited his 38 years working in the field of education as his reason for retirement.
“I think it’s been a good career. I need to start enjoying time with my family,” he said.
The Superintendent said he assumes the board will announce the vacancy in the Feb. 10 regular meeting.
“I’m expecting to see a new superintendent take a true leadership role probably in May, no later than June,” he said.