SAN ANTONIO – With Mayor Julian Castro in the audience, the Harlandale ISD school board voted during a heated meeting Tuesday night to postpone its search for a new superintendent until the next meeting.
The current superintendent Bob Jaklich surprised the south side community last week when he said he’s taking a superintendent job in Victoria.
An item on the meeting’s agenda would have started the search for his replacement, but the board tabled that discussion after hearing from supporters.
Jaklich didn’t speak on his behalf. He didn’t have to.
“He saved our district,” one supporter said.
“I’ve never seen a superintendent that shows his face so much, “ a high school senior said.
It was a show of support that showed in Jaklich’s facial expression.
“The best superintendent ever,” two elementary-school aged students said in unison to the school board.
But it wasn’t long before someone mentioned the elephant in the room.
“I don’t understand why two board members gave the superintendent the lowest possible rating,” one supporter said.
“Mr. Chairman, we have to be careful about talking about an employees’ evaluation,” a district official interjected.
They’re talking about the confidential evaluation that made headlines, showing two board members gave the superintendent poor reviews.
Velma Ybarra was one of those members.
“I think this community and fellow board members should know one page was deliberately leaked to the media,” she said as Jaklich supporters started yelling.
Mayor Julian Castro weighed in, echoing comments he made last week on his Facebook page when he said some board members made a “huge mistake in driving out” Jaklich.
“I felt compelled to come tonight,” Mayor Castro said.
He said under Jaklich’s leadership, the Harlandale district has excelled. He asked the board to postpone its search for a superintendent.
“This is always felt – from a distance I could tell – it has always felt like home to him,” Mayor Castro said. “I hope it will continue to be your home.”
His words helped convince the board to table its talks until the next meeting.
Some supporters, including the mayor and a few board members, asked if it wasn’t too late for Jaklich to suspend his contract negotiations in Victoria and stay put. Jaklich declined an interview so it’s unclear if that’s possible.