NET EDUCATION REFORM
Friday the 13th School Board Election Battle
An election contest challenging the result of the May 7, 2016 election for two at large school board positions at Daingerfield-Lone Star ISD was heard in the Morris County District Court last Friday, January 13, 2016. One of the candidates, Cody Wommack, who represented himself, challenged the method in which the election was held stating that it was conducted in violation of State law. He also pleaded that the school attorney Jay Youngblood was illegally representing the private interests of school board members Marie Skipper and Mike Alcorn. The school district would be prohibited from spending money for their legal representation in this case but school attorney Jay Youngblood stated that he and his firm were representing them pro bono because they were not rich people. However, looking at the Smith County and Morris County appraisal district websites reveals that Marie Skipper and her husband, retired Morris County sheriff Joe Skipper, have property worth considerably more than attorney Youngblood. Mike Alcorn on the other hand has periodically been delinquent on his property taxes even while voting on matters related to the delinquent property taxes of others. In a DLSISD meeting on March 3, 2015, he even made the motion to authorize the resale of a property that had been foreclosed upon for being $3,047.80 behind in property taxes while Alcorn himself was $3,183.97 behind on his taxes. Wommack argued that if we were to believe that the school attorney was truly working pro bono, then it was in effect a bribe offered and accepted by a government contractor to public officials responsible for approving his contract. Gregg County District Judge Alfonso Charles, who heard the case, ruled against Wommack’s motion and said he saw no problem with the school attorney representing school board members in this matter. He then ruled in favor of DLSISD board members Alcorn and Skipper’s motion for summary judgment and ordered sanctions against Wommack in the amount of $2,500. Unless the case is appealed to the Texas 6th Court of Appeals in Texarkana, it will go no further.
This was the latest in a long series of confrontations between candidate Cody Wommack, and Jay Youngblood’s law firm Powell and Leon who have offices in Tyler, Austin and Corpus Christi. Powell and Leon also represent neighboring district Chapel Hill ISD in Mt Pleasant. The daughter of Daingerfield-Lone Star ISD superintendent Sandra Quarles worked at Chapel Hill before being hired at Daingerfield in April of 2015. The DLSISD school board hired the superintendent’s daughter after it transferred hiring authority from the superintendent to the school board. Four months later she was allowed to resign due to reportable misconduct. By that time, hiring authority had already been transferred back to the superintendent. Wommack did a public record request with Chapel Hill asking for all records related to the superintendent’s daughter. He received in response more than 100 pages of positive reviews and accolades. But, some information was withheld and Powell and Leon asked for and received an Attorney General ruling whether they could release it. Attorney General Ken Paxton's Office of Open Records ruled that some of the withheld records had to be released. Wommack then received almost another 100 pages of negative reviews, documented cases of insubordination, inappropriate dress, examples of leaving young children unattended, and a recommendation from the principal for non-renewal of contract. In the middle of this document was a letter from the Chapel Hill School nurse to Titus Regional Medical Center saying that the school would pay for the drug test. Wommack immediately filed another public record request for the result of the drug test and the response from Powell & Leon indicated that no such record existed.