Newly obtained documents from the Tuloso-Midway Independent School District and ordered released by the Texas Attorney General to KRIS 6 News reveal new details about the investigation into grade tampering within TMISD.
According to the documents, on Dec. 14, 2020, Fernandez became aware of alleged grade tampering at the high school. The allegations involved a school employee deliberately manipulating grades to the benefit of her children as well as those of her family friends.
KRIS 6 News has confirmed that the employee is the wife of current school board trustee Stephen Hoelscher.
In January, Fernandez told the school board that the high school principal agreed to resign at the end of the year.
He also informed board members that the district was working with legal counsel on the process of reporting the evidence of multiple years of grade tampering to the State Board of Education and the Texas Education Agency.
On June 14, 2021, Fernandez contacted the school board president. The superintendent told the president it's in the district’s best interest to conduct a forensic audit and investigation into grading practices and also suggested the investigation be done by legal professionals - especially since the allegations involve the wife of a board member.
On that same day, an agenda item calling for the resignation of Place 2 trustee Stephen Hoelscher appeared, but the item was discussed in a closed session and no action was taken.
The next week the trustees held a special meeting to talk about Fernandez's employment and his role, duties and responsibility with the district.
On Oct. 19, 2021 after more than 10 special meetings, the trustees agreed to a mutual settlement with Fernandez. His last day of employment will be on Jan. 31, 2022.
The district will pay nearly $160,000 to buy out the remainder of Fernandez's contract.
The school board of trustees and Fernandez sent KRIS 6 the following joint statement Wednesday saying in part: “An agreement has been reached which allows Doctor Fernandez the ability to pursue other interests and permits the board to pursue hiring another superintendent.”
KRIS 6 contacted all of the board trustees individually and only received a response from Kimberly Boone who told us off camera that an investigation was also conducted into Fernandez.
When asked about possible retaliation against Fernandez, she said: “I can respond as there was no retaliation on my end, at all. My facts and my voting on my end was related to job performance and had nothing to do with the TEA investigation."
The board voted to make its investigation into the grade tampering public and the TEA is still investigating.
We also reached out to the district's attorney, but received no response.