According to an April 3, 2014 (actually it is dated 2012 but I assume that was a typo) request for a Texas Attorney General Opinion submitted by Jo Anne Bernal, the County has been advised that “some local school board trustees do not want to disclose financial information as required of state officers by the new Education Code provisions”. As a result, the letters goes on state, that “rather than be subjected to public disclosure, some trustees intend to resign on or before” December 31, 2014.
The letter, requesting the opinion, goes on to state that “since the provisions of the statue do not apply until January 1, 2015, we ask whether persons who resign before January 1, 2015 and that do not hold over after January 1, 2015 may avoid having to file their financial statement by April 30, 2015. Since the filing dates is not until April 30th, a question has also arisen as to whether these trustees may avoid the April 30th filing requirement by resigning without holding over some times after January 1st, but before April 30th, 2015.”
The three questions that Jo Ann Bernal asks of the Texas Attorney General are:
“Question #1: Whether a trustee who resigns before and does not hold over after January 1, 2015 is required to file a personal financial statement under Education Code $ 11.0641 for calendar 2014?”
“Question #2: Whether a trustee who resigns and does not hold over between January 1, 2015 and April 29th 2015, is required to file a personal financial statement under Education Code $ 11.0641 for calendar year 2014?”
“Question #3: May the El Paso County Commissioners Court adopt a rule requiring school trustees who resign before and do not hold over after January 1, 2016 to file a personal financial statement for every year, or part of a year, during which he held office after January 1, 2015?”
The legislation that Bernal references to is the legislation that was adopted by the Texas Legislative Session in 2013, specifically House Bill 343 requiring that beginning January 1, 2015, school board trustees of independent school districts located in a county located on the international border within a municipality of over 600,000 be required to file financial disclosure statements.
This legislation applies only to El Paso County.
There are many comments that I want to make on this issue however in keeping with separating my commentary from actual news I will refrain from commenting today.
For those interested, you can download the full letter requesting the opinion here.