The Round Rock ISD board of trustees voted not to approve a superintendent separation agreement during a March 8 meeting.
The board conferred with its attorney in closed session regarding the inquiry carried out by an external investigator at the direction of the district's Texas Education Agency-assigned monitor, David Faltys, as well as a separation agreement for suspended Superintendent Hafedh Azaiez.
After just over five hours of closed session, a motion to approve the separation agreement was put forth by Place 5 Trustee Amy Weir and seconded by Place 4 Trustee Cory Vessa but failed 4-2 with the "yes" votes coming from Vessa and Weir. Place 3 Trustee and board President Amber Feller abstained.
Ahead of the vote, trustees shared their thoughts regarding the situation.
"I think it is obvious from the comments on the dais right now why we had to come to the decision that we did," Feller said.
Place 6 Trustee Tiffanie Harrison stated she hoped the board can move forward and work cooperatively in the best interest of students.
"We have students that are counting on us, and no matter what the outcome of this vote I hope we can move forward," Harrison said.
Place 2 and 7 Trustees Mary Bone and Danielle Weston expressed concern that district money was diverted from students in the funding of the TEA-recommended investigation and that any settlement paid would amount to "hush money." Bone also expressed that she felt some board members had been using the situation to their advantage and sowing misinformation in the community, while Weston described the situation as a "failure of leadership" and stated that she felt it lacked transparency.
Vessa said that it was "sad" and "gut wrenching" to come to the conclusion that a separation agreement may be the best move forward for the district.
Trustees Xiao and Weir did not make any comments ahead of the vote.
As they have many times over the course of the last several months, public speakers both spoke in favor of firing Azaiez as well as reinstating him. Some also asked that the investigation report be made public so the community can draw its own conclusions about the situation.
A vote to finalize this report, making it subject to the Texas Public Information Act, passed 6-0-1, with Xiao abstaining. District staff said the report could become public information based on the ruling handed down by the attorney general's office if requested.
Before adjourning, Feller said from the dais that because the board could not come to a final decision regarding Azaiez's employment status, it will reconvene March 21 to discuss the matter once again. It is not yet clear what kind of settlement is included in the separation agreement.
Community Impact Newspaper will update this story as more information becomes available.
Round Rock ISD board undecided regarding superintendent employment status, will reconvene March 21
The Round Rock ISD board of trustees voted not to approve a superintendent separation agreement during a March 8 meeting. (Courtesy Round Rock ISD)