Local media has reported the resignation comes at the heels of allegations of sexual harassment from SISD administrators at a recent convention.
Owings’ letter of resignation states that he is resigning due to state budget cuts and not receiving a raise in the past two years.
“Over the last seven years as Superintendent, we have made tremendous strides in improving the district,” the letter states. “… However, due to the State budget cuts and lack of a raise the last two years, my retirement annuity is not increasing significantly. It makes more sense financially to retire and pursue other opportunities available to me.”
The resignation of Owings will be effective June of this year.
Owings was not present during a special called meeting Monday where board members unanimously accepted his resignation. Owings had submitted a written retirement/resignation letter to officials earlier Monday, said the district attorney Ivan F. Perez.
He won’t return to the district for the rest of the school year, either. Perez said Owings is utilizing all available state and sick leave. Additionally, he won’t be present at district functions, said Perez.
According to the Monitor, Owings is accused of sexually harassing two school officials at a Texas Association of School Administrators conference last week.
After the meeting, and a lengthy executive session, board trustees declined to comment to the media about the resignation. The board accepted his resignation in a unanimous vote at a meeting where the trustees were expected to discuss the progress of the construction of the second high school. They referred all questions to Perez.
A resident present at the meeting who said she was aware of the allegations declined to comment as well. The woman, however, did say Owings should resign.
Perez said he could only comment on the action the board took, which was to accept Owings’ resignation, but he could not discuss personnel matters. He said the only way information would become public about the reason for the resignation would be if the employee makes it public.
“The district is looking to move forward, and will be hosting a meeting here in the next few days to begin the process of looking for their next superintendent,” said Perez.
According to board members, and Perez, legal counsel will proceed as was discussed during executive session.
Board members were still unavailable for comment at press time, but Perez said he would not comment on any allegations.
When it comes to district policy, Perez said, all staff is expected to comply with a code of ethics that is effective for the school district and the state.
In that code of ethics, an employee shall not accept or offer favors to obtain special advantages, an educator should be of good moral character and worthy to instruct or supervise the youth of the state, shall not consume alcoholic beverages on school property or during school activities when students are present and shall not use coercive means or promise of special treatment in order to influence professional decisions or colleagues, according to the district’s code provided by Perez.
With the assistance of the Texas Association of School Boards, and local input, the board is always looking to improve upon existing policies in any way that it can, he added.
Pertaining to the successes of the district while under Owings’ guidance, Perez said the school district’s success couldn’t be attributed to just one person. The district will continue its tradition of academic, athletic and extracurricular excellence and success, said Perez.
“The board looks forward to continued excellence in the district,” Perez said.
The board will be meeting today at 5:30 p.m. to discuss appointing an interim superintendent. They will also discuss the process to be utilized in searching for the next superintendent.
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