FRANKSTON, Texas — After three years of increased employee turnover rates, multiple investigations and a spike in parents pulling their children from the district, the Frankston Independent School District Board of Trustees has decided to place Superintendent John Allen on paid administrative leave.
The decision was made following an executive session during a special board meeting held Tuesday night.
Allen will remain on administrative leave pending "an investigation," according to the board. Board members would not reveal the type of investigation that is being conducted.
The board appointed Assistant Superintendent Nicci Cook as interim superintendent.
When the meeting adjourned, Allen's picture was removed from the wall of the FISD board room.
In February, CBS19 was the only television news outlet who attended a standing-room only board meeting at which former and current FISD employees, parents and concerned citizens said there was a massive divide in the community over how Allen was running the district since being hired.
Those who had signed up to speak in the open forum cited conflicts, teacher/coach turnover rates, bullying and a mass exodus of students as evidence for what they said was "poor leadership."
In the summer of 2017, 34 teachers and staff members left the district prior to the 2017-2018 school year. Former employees claimed Allen, who at the time had only been with the district for a year, had created a hostile working environment.
During the meeting, Allen announced the Texas Education Agency’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) had opened a Special Accreditation Investigation into the district.
The mission of the SIU is to use a variety of investigative approaches to gather evidence related to alleged wrongdoing including but not limited to:
- Potential violations of state or federal law
- Rules and regulations
- Policies and procedures
- Other abuses that may negatively impact a school district or charter school
Investigations focus on obtaining sufficient, factual evidence to determine whether certain enforcement actions should be taken against the district or charter school.
Allen said the investigation stemmed from "complaints regarding actions taken by the Board of Trustees."
“Board President Jerry Jones and I are committed to fully cooperating with this state investigation to ensure that student achievement remains our focus and top priority,” Allen said at the time.
Allen then revealed he would not seek nor accept a contract extension, and would resign at the end of his current term, which expires in 2021. That statement drew a roaring applause from most of those in attendance.
During the May 2019 school board elections, former FISD Board of Trustees President Jerry Jones and Carl House, both of whom Frankston residents say were “big fans” of Allen, were defeated by landslides in races that were met with a historical voter turnout.
Jones was beat by Ryan Brizell, 335 (74%) – 118 (26%), while House lost to Dustin Holladay, 315 (69%) – 141 (31%).