HOUSTON — A Houston ISD board member is apologizing for Thursday night’s heated meeting. But she’s not sorry for switching interim superintendents without warning.
It’s a decision some say was racially motivated.
HISD board member Diana Davila said she stands behind what got so many others riled up - the board's decision to replace interim superintendent Grenita Lathan with former superintendent Abe Saavedra.
“This board member does not make decision on racial lines,” said Davila. “This board member makes decision for what’s best for children, even if that means that sometimes other adults get insulted.”
Racial motivations are what some other board members alleged following the 5 to 4 vote to oust Lathan as the interim superintendent. Every Hispanic member of the board voted to replace her with former Saavedra.
“It should be about one color and that is our kids,” said board member Wanda Adams. “And we are not doing that! And I cannot hold my piece anymore.”
Davila said bringing Saavedra in for no more than a year keeps the search for a permanent superintendent impartial since Lathan, who replaced Richard Carranza last spring, is expected to apply.
The meeting was enough to spark reaction from HISD parents and others across the district. That includes Houston’s mayor.
“You can’t get a right position when you start off wrong,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “What took place was not in the best interest of HISD, was not in the best interest of the children, and, quite frankly, was not in the city’s best interest.”
The Houston Federation of Teachers called the action irresponsible.
“The conduct of the HISD’s board was nothing short of embarrassing and harmful,” said union president Zeph Capo in a statement. “It demonstrated a dysfunction that does not serve our community, our school district and our students well.”
“When you’re having heated discussions and have people with differences of opinion, things are going to be pretty heated in the conversation,” said Davila. "So, we apologize to the public for that.”
Abe Saavedra retired from South San Antonio ISD on Friday. He previously served HISD from 2004-2009.