December 18, 1998
By Daniel L. Muñoz
The Ysleta Independent School District did what our own Sweetwater Union High School could not do. They fired their Superintendent, Anthony Trujillo! "The Lone Star" State of Texas has proven that Anthony Trujillo does not deserve to be the Superintendent of the Ysleta Independent School District,", stated Diana Carrasco, of Ysleta, Texas.
Officially Anthony Trujillo's six-year troubled reign ended Tuesday December 16, 1998 when the Ysleta school board terminated his employment contract on the advice of a Texas Education Agency official. The Ysleta Trustees had voted to oust Superintendent Anthony Trujillo on October 1, 1998. Their final action had to wait the outcome of a hearing held on the charges, under which he was fired, by the Texas State Education Agency. Hearing officer Judge Skipper Koetter, of Victoria Texas, after interviewing 36 witnesses, among them students, speaking and hearing testimonies from both sides of the issue in El Paso, on Dec. 15, upheld the Boards decision of Oct. 1 to oust Trujillo as head of the 48,000-student district.
According to reports from El Paso, the State Education Examiner, Judge Cotter stated he had 120 facts to support this three causes for termination: TRUJILLO supported a Ysleta ISD school board candidate which is in violation of his contract, violated UIL rules involving his efforts to place his son in the Del Valle High school football program, and in hiring a district employee, Enrique Escobar, Ysleta's director of construction, to do construction work on his home. Trujillo admitted paying to having an $55,000 addition built on his house. Escobar wasn't paid for his assistance but later was promoted and given an excessive pay raise. Escobar was promoted to executive director of facilities and received a $5,000 pay raise! Trujillo hearing officer Koetter questioned Trujillo's judgement in helping his son become a volunteer football coach. "Trujillo did not act in the best interest of the district. He violated state athletic rules. He selfishly pursued his personal agenda in what he perceived to be in the best interest of his son. Coach Rick Bolanos says that " it was part of the reason that he was fired (after he complained).
School board President Ronda Scrivner, who led the fight against Trujillo over who would control the district and Trustees Blanca Dominguez, Chuck Peartree, and Michael Portillo criticized Trujillo for assuming most of the key powers in the district including key hiring decisions. The board filed 24 allegations of wrong doing against him. This was reduced to 15 before the State hearing. During Koetter's hearings seven more allegations were struck out leaving him 12 to consider. Publicly, he announced his findings on only three of the allegations.
Trujillo can appeal Koetter's decision to the Texas Education Commissioner or eventually take his case to court. "There is no record of a hearing officers decisions ever being overturned by the Education Commissioner," said Texas Education Agency spokesman Joey Lozano.
Trujillo's lawyers indicated they were very disappointed in the outcome. Mr. Trujillo stated "The charges are groundless."
Former Sweetwater Superintendent Anthony Trujillo has come full circle. After fighting with the Board of Trustees, the teachers and administrators at Sweetwater Union High, he was forced to resign in 1991. He left under a cloud of corruption, Grand Jury investigations, and state audit investigations, which were leading to criminal charges. Instead, he resigned. Unfortunately, in 1992 he surfaced in Ysleta Texas were he was hired in spite of warnings over his character and his record in our schools. His trial of destruction continues. There seems to be no way of preventing some other state from hiring him under our current laws.