In Part 2 of investigating the relationship between Leadership ISD and Fort Worth ISD, we look into one person in FWISD who has made a career in race equity: Jacinto Ramos Jr.
Jacinto Ramos Jr. is the former FWISD board president and a current board member representing the north side of Fort Worth. He has been a strong advocate for racial equity training in FWISD and is a supporter of the group My Brother’s Keeper.
He is also the chief of Governance and Leadership for Leadership ISD, making more than $103,000.
Leadership ISD is a 501(c)3 nonprofit based out of Dallas that conducts racial equity classes for public school teachers and administrators, as well as civic leaders.
His biography on the Leadership ISD website states, “He is a proven leader on educational policy, racial/ethnic equity and school board governance.”
Along with the six-figure salary from Leadership ISD, he also is an adjunct professor at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth teaching a class called “Engaging Difference and Diversity.”
Before working for Leadership ISD, Ramos was a juvenile probation officer in Tarrant County.
Leadership ISD conducts trainings that many FWISD teachers attend. When asked if there were signed conflict of interest affidavits or substantial interest affidavits by Ramos, FWISD responded that there were “no responsive records.”
FWISD board policy BBFA (legal) states: “If a local public official has a substantial interest in a business entity or in real property, the local public official shall, before a vote or decision on any matter involving the business entity or the real property, file an affidavit stating the nature and extent of the interest.”
The policy also states that the public servant must fill out a substantial interest affidavit if “funds received by the person from the business entity exceed ten percent of the person’s gross income for the previous year.”
With Ramos not claiming a conflict of interest or a substantial interest, he could be in violation of the board policy.
Some Fort Worth residents are concerned about the possible conflict and profiteering that is happening in this instance.
“It seems only prudent to sign an affidavit, just to show there [are] not any issues with conducting business with Leadership ISD,” said Fort Worth ISD alumni and activist Carlos Turcios. “Why wouldn’t you sign a conflict of interest affidavit for propriety’s sake?”
Traci Jenkins, a Fort Worth political activist, asked, “What is a former FWISD school board president and current board member (Ramos) doing in connection to Leadership ISD’s CRT advocacy? Someone needs to investigate if he is personally profiting from this and to reveal any conflicts of interest.”
Ramos has been under fire before. In 2017, the story broke that Ramos took a group of visiting students from Australia to Hooters. It is reported that he used campaign funds to pay for the dinner.
In 2018, Ramos told a group of students at North Side High School, “One is a theory called critical race theory—that none of this is an accident, that the social construct of race is working exactly the way it was designed to work, which is to divide us.”
He also came under fire as Texas Scorecard reported in September 2020, when he took his family to a Dallas Cowboy game while not allowing in-person learning.
Warren Norred, an attorney working to remove the mask mandate in FWISD and a current candidate for Senate District 10, said this when asked about Leadership ISD and Jacinto Ramos: “We can talk about mask policies, CRT or Leadership ISD-the real issue is that FWISD trustees, tasked to govern our schools care too little that only three percent of their 7th graders are at grade level for math.”
Citizens wanting to speak about the possible conflict of interest may register to comment at the next board meeting on September 28 at 4:00 p.m. Citizens are also being invited to join a rally to mobilize for change in Fort Worth ISD beforehand.
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