The dispute over the naming of the MHS softball field had less to do with the name itself, and more to do with the process of approving the name.
During this week’s regular called meeting, the Mission Consolidated Independent School District board of trustees discussed the naming of the Mission High School softball field. The item was previously brought up at the last board meeting.
When the item was brought forward, board member Betty Mendoza made a motion to vote to name the field after former Coach Iris Iglesias. Board members Jerry Zamora and Patty O’caña-Olivarez stated that they had different ideas of what item was going to be presented at this week’s meeting following the last one.
“Didn’t we say we were going to get a committee to go ahead and do that [vote]?” Zamora asked, and Mendoza said it was discussed but not agreed upon.
The issue, they said, lies with the board policy, which
stated that the board president name all committee members in regards to the naming of such facilities.
O’caña-Olivarez noted that the policy should have been amended so that each board member can select one member of the committee for the vote.
“We had agreed to follow the protocol,” O’caña-Olivarez said.
Board member Sonia Treviño stated that the board was “all in agreement” that Iglesias should be the namesake of the softball field.
“There’s no discussion on her accolades, we made that very clear,” Treviño said. “The only thing that was in question was how it [board policy] was written. The issue was, in order for us to go forward, it had to be amended so each board member can pick a committee member to represent them, and the end result will still be the same, but in this case it would follow board policy.”
Mendoza maintained that the school board makes “million dollar decisions,” and voting to name the softball field should be a decision they make without having to get members of the community involved.
She also added that any committee members would question what their purpose would be if the board already made up their mind on the naming. O’caña-Olivarez said that the selected committee doesn’t just vote on the name of the field.
“The discussion has to be name placement, the discussion has to be the colors of what the names are going to be,” O’caña-Olivarez said. “The discussion has to be whether there’s going to be a statue of her, or if there’s going to be a picture of her, a banner of her, the logistics of it is what needs to be discussed.
She also said that the board all agrees that the softball field be named after Iglesias, and that central office has been receiving several calls from the community following the last meeting saying that other locations on MCISD campuses be named after various people.
“We were just protecting the integrity of the process,” O’caña-Olivarez said. “We need to follow board policy so that we don’t open Pandora’s Box in the future, because that is what was happening the next day.”
Mendoza asked why they couldn’t just vote if they were already in agreement on who the field should be named after, and that MCISD has made exceptions to this in the past.
“Most of you are saying that this field is going to be named after Mrs. Iglesias, so I don’t see the point of having to have a committee write what we’re already saying,” Mendoza said. “I understand we need to follow policy, but it’s been done before where they didn’t follow policy.”
O’caña-Olivarez answered by saying that the previous exception was made for someone on their deathbed.
“They were trying to grant his wish prior to him passing,” O’caña-Olivarez said. “We are just trying to protect the integrity of the process.”
Mendoza said the Iglesias family also followed protocol, and if people were calling the district on these matters they too need to follow that protocol.
“We did discuss in executive [at the last meeting] about changing policy, and we will change policy,” Mendoza said. “But this family has been waiting for over 5 years, so I feel that they have followed protocol and we should vote on in tonight.”
Following the discussion, the item was taken into executive session for legal questions. Six items in total were taken into executive session.
When they came out of executive, the board voted to follow the amended board policy and each select a person for the decision committee. They are to submit their choice by today.
At the end of the meeting, the board voted to reorganize themselves. Treviño moved to change the positions so that “everyone has a chance” to serve as president.
The new board president is Charlie Garcia III, the vice president is Minnie Rodgers and the secretary is Jerry Zamora. Mendoza abstained from voting on this item.