Flour Bluff Board Announcment Leaves Some With Questions About Conflicting Interests

Tori Rodriguez
Staff Reporter
The Southside Light

Flour Bluff—Members of the Flour Bluff ISD Board of Trustees announced a measure Thursday evening that allocate school money to the Shoreline News, which extensively covers local news to Flour Bluff and to the South Jetty News, which is predominantly geared to the Port Aransas area.

In addition to the print publications, the Board of Trustees also announced that they would be using taxpayer advertising dollars to purchase ad space on the KIII-TV billboard along South Padre Island Dr.

The move did however spark some local questions outside of the Board’s meeting Thursday. Flour Bluff ISD Board President Shirley Thornton is also the Senior Editor and Editorial writer for the Shoreline News, which has caused some to question the move.

The Southside Light has learned that according to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the district has not violated any such rule.

The TEA says that conflicts of interest are governed by Chapter 171 of the Local Government Code, set forth by the agency.  Depending on the circumstances, a board member may be required to disclose a potential conflict and refrain from discussing or voting on that issue.

The TEA guidance goes onto say that while serving as a board member, the trustee should be an advocates for employees, but as a business person doing business with the school board, the board member may also have a duty to protect the interests of the company he or she represents. This issue really all boils down to disclosure of a potential conflict and clarity as to what role someone is assuming. That is where some are questioning the Board’s decision.

Some Thursday night were questioning if Board President Shirley Thornton properly disclosed her relationship with the Shoreline News and/or her potential financial gain from the board’s decision or the financial gain of her employer?

The Southside Light reached out to the district for comment Thursday evening. They have not responded to our request.

This story has been updated throughout.

Correction: A previous version of this article had referred to the Shoreline News as the “Shoreline Press” in the opening paragraph. We regret that this mistake happened and it has been rewritten to reflect the correct name. MB


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