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HISD considers revamping ethics rules

This all seems like a good idea.

Houston school trustees, who now may accept campaign cash from anyone at any time, would face new restrictions under a proposal meant to curb improper influence in the school district’s business deals.

The new rules, slated for board consideration next week, would bar a trustee from taking contributions from vendors while the district is soliciting bids in their area of business.

Trustees also are considering banning themselves from calling meetings with prospective vendors and district staff – a practice that has come under scrutiny in recent months.

“We just don’t want any appearance that trustees are trying to put any undue influence on the administration to pick one vendor over another,” said Trustee Mike Lunceford.

[…]

Under the proposal, trustees of the Houston Independent School District would face tighter restrictions on campaign contributions than other local school boards, according to a survey of the area’s largest school districts.

The city of Houston has a blackout period on campaign donations from vendors but the rules are looser than those that HISD is considering.

Texas Watchdog has more on this. I approve of the direction the HISD Board is going, and I’m glad to see they’ll be conducting an audit of their current procurement practices. Let’s get a handle on the scope of this issue, and get all of the relevant data into the open for discussion. You’re never going to eliminate the temptation to break the rules, but you can make it easier to get caught. Another suggestion I’ve heard is to require Trustees to submit financial disclosure statements, as Council members and legislators do. All of this would also be a good idea for the HCC Board of Trustees. We’ll see how these proposals fare at the Board meeting.

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3 Comments

  1. […] HISD’s procurement policies and ethics rules; at the time I did this interview, the Board was scheduled to vote on changes to its ethics rules but had not yet taken that vote. (See also School Zone‘s […]

  2. […] business with the school district. If this isn’t something that can be addressed by those new ethics rules HISD is considering then it really needs to be addressed by the Legislature in 2013. Campos has […]

  3. […] noted before, this makes HISD’s rules more like City Council’s and the Legislature’s. […]