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By: Erin NicholsFox San AntonioParents and taxpayers in the Harlandale Independent School District are questioning their leaders and accusing them of favoritism and bias.Several family members of Superintendent Rey Madrigal work in the district and his daughter was recently promoted from a teaching position to an assistant principal at Terrell Wells Middle School.According to records, Madrigal’s daughter became a certified classroom teacher in 2011.Some community members at a special school board election Tuesday night voiced their concern with the promotion.“How can a young girl who’s been here for three years and coincidentally is the daughter of the superintendent get chosen?” said taxpayer Gina Castaneda. “The hiring process here at the district seems to be that of favoritism and nepotism.”Madrigal’s brother and several of his cousins work in the district. One of his cousins, Fred Anthony, is the principal of Harlandale High School where Madrigal’s daughter once worked.“The last person who was hired only had three years of experience and we want the board to look at that,” said Julie Gimble with the Harlandale Education Association. “We want the most highly qualified people for these positions.”But according to a district spokesperson, Madrigal isn't breaking the nepotism law.The law doesn’t apply to superintendents, only board members. The district does however ask that superintendents follow the same general guidelines.The district went on to say that Madrigal’s daughter isn’t under his direct supervision and was selected from a pool of about 4 candidates by officials at the middle school. The school then sent their recommendation to Madrigal, who approved it. The board signed off on the promotion.However, taxpayers and teachers at the meeting still say it makes the leadership look crooked.“They are not looking out for the students,” said Castaneda. “Even though they say they are, I think they are mainly concerned with who is going to get promoted.”
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