Striking another blow to the dysfunctional board of Texas’ largest school district, a state-appointed conservator ordered Houston Independent School District to immediately halt their superintendent search.

This comes in the midst of interviewing finalists for the job, where HISD’s board reportedly had interviews scheduled Monday and Tuesday and intended to announce their choice at the end of the week.

The Texas Education Agency is looking into allegations that the board violated the Texas Open Meetings Act, leading to the call for a pause on the superintendent search. According to what one trustee told a local news outlet, they are currently going through 12,000 emails and three years of district documents.

“I am directing the Houston Independent School District Board of Trustees and the administration of the Houston ISD to immediately suspend its Superintendent search activities until the Agency has completed its special accreditation investigation,” read the directive from Doris Delaney, HISD’s conservator.

“I am directing the Houston ISD Board of Trustees to take no further action regarding the selection of a new Superintendent until the Board receives written authorization from the Conservator to resume search activities.”

Grenita Lathan has been serving as HISD’s interim superintendent for about a year, but in October a portion of the board voted to fire and immediately replace her as superintendent. The meeting quickly descended into infighting between board members, and a public outcry over the coup forced them to vote to reinstate Lathan.

The district is still facing potential takeover by the state which would implement a board of managers to oversee the district’s operations. This issue is the latest in a long-running saga of HISD troubles.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.