Letters to the Editor for February 21, 2019

Special to the PRESS

Dear Editor,
It has been my privilege and honor to serve as Superintendent of Point Isabel ISD for almost seven years
and to conclude my 31 years of public education service in PIISD. I have been blessed to work with
amazingly talented educators who work tirelessly to better the lives of the students they serve. The level
of support and enthusiasm for change and unrelenting refusal to accept mediocrity of ourselves or our
students has been daunting. The district has challenged the status quo and accepted needed changes to
transform the educational experience for teachers and students. PIISD is blessed to have a Board of
Trustees, faculty, staff and students whose dedication and enthusiasm for education is unmatched.

There have been so many occasions during the past seven years when it would have been easy to panic
and recoil from innovation and change. With support of the Board of Trustees and the extreme level of
dedication of the teachers, staff, and students the district has set a high standard for innovation to
better equip PIISD graduates for the future path of their choice.

PIISD has an extremely dedicated team of individuals that work relentlessly to provide a high quality
educational experience for the students we serve. In spite of returning $17-18 million annually in
recapture, the District is able to provide an excellent educational experience for students and an
attractive compensation plan for employees. I encourage the community and district employees to
continue to challenge legislation that removes revenue from the District that should remain in the
community to further the educational pursuits of the next generation.

While I plan to retire from full time public education, I will remain a great supporter of public education
and a lifelong advocate of PIISD. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity I have had to lead the
district and will remain a Tarpon4ever.

Dr. Lisa Garcia
Retired Superintendent PIISD

Dear Editor:
What is going on inside the South Padre City Hall? The November election brought in
Joe Ricco, an employee at Louie’s Backyard, Eva Jean Dalton, a realtor, and Kerry
Schwartz, a t-shirt shop owner, to join as a voting bloc with Ken Medders, a close friend
of Clayton Brashear.

Since their swearing-in, Keith Arnold, the Convention and Visitors Bureau Director, has
resigned. Cliff Cross, the Planning Director, has resigned. Susan Guthrie, the City
Manager, has resigned. Dennis Stahl, our Mayor and Council Member for five years,
has resigned. And now I find out Darla Jones, our Assistant City Manager for nine years
with more than 28 years of city management experience and more credentials and
certifications that anyone that has ever worked for our city, has decided to retire at the
end of the month!

It takes years to find and retain competent professionals for department leadership
positions. It takes even longer to train all departments of a city to work together as a
team. Our City has been very fortunate these past few years because of these
professionals’ dedicated efforts at improving our Island. But now, a few months after the
election, we have already lost the core of our City’s government.

Making things worse, rumors are rampant that at least three and perhaps more critical
department heads have already applied for jobs elsewhere. Who’s next? Hopefully, Alita
Bagley, Councilwoman for more than 10 years, won’t resign. It is imperative that the
City Council retain the institutional memory and knowledge she has.

But who is going to be keeping an eye on the City’s bank account? I don’t want to see
South Padre wind up like Port Isabel with millions of tax dollars mysteriously spent with
nothing to show for it. Any city that runs off all of its professionals and cedes its
responsibilities and finances to politicians is doomed for failure and potential
bankruptcy. If our City Council keeps running off our professional department heads,
we’re going to wind up with the dog catcher running the city.

Patricia Cocca
South Padre Island

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