UPDATE: As of September 22, 2022, TEA has no longer flagged Azaiez’ license for investigation. No explanation has been given.
ROUND ROCK — The contentious saga continues in this “safe and suburban” Central Texas school district as Round Rock ISD Superintendent Hafedh Azaiez received a $28,900 bonus from the school board—while still under investigation by the Texas Education Agency.
For more than a year, Texas Scorecard has chronicled multiple scandals involving Round Rock ISD in a special report and a podcast series, Exposed, which included investigations into the school board’s rushed hiring of Superintendent Hafedh Azaiez. Five trustees—Amy Weir, Jun Xiao, Amber Feller, Cory Vessa, and Tiffanie Harrison—voted to hire Azaiez despite the objections of trustees Danielle Weston and Mary Bone, as well as local parents.
After Azaiez’s hiring, citizens criticized the five board members, dubbed the “Bad Faith Five,” for allegedly covering up domestic violence allegations against Azaiez and protecting him through ongoing criminal investigations.
Tuesday’s board meeting included an agenda item for trustees to “consider and take possible action on an amendment(s) to the Superintendent’s employment contract and possible performance and incentive payment.”
In a 5-2 vote, Weir, Feller, Vessa, Harrison, and Kevin Johnson (the interim replacement for Xiao following his resignation) gave Azaiez an “incentive and performance” bonus of $28,900, claiming it was “earned” under the superintendent’s contract.
Weston highlighted how the bonus is at the “sole discretion of the board” according to the superintendent’s contract and voted against awarding Azaiez nearly $29,000 in taxpayer money alongside Bone.
Then, in a 4-2-1 vote (Johnson abstained), the board extended Azaiez’s employment contract for one year, from June 2024 to June 2025.
Weston protested the decision, stating, “The superintendent’s license has been under review by the Texas Education Agency educator investigations division for a year. In addition, he’s the only superintendent in Texas with a permanent restraining order,” referring to the restraining order against Azaiez for domestic violence allegations.
Weston also said the independent investigation report by Dr. Ann Dixon earlier this year brought to light “valid concerns” regarding Azaiez’s ability to be an effective superintendent.
“For these reasons, I cannot vote for a contract extension,” said Weston.
Additionally, with the November school board elections less than 45 days away, Weston said, “I view this motion to extend the superintendent’s contract as an inflammatory move and disrespectful to the voters who will weigh in on this matter in 45 short days.”
Trustees Weir, Feller, Harrison, and Vessa are up for re-election in November, with Xiao’s seat also vacant after his February resignation.