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How does the months-long investgation into sexual misconduct at Connally ISD affect taxpayers?

Posted: 9:01 AM, Aug 02, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-02 10:01:21-04
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There was a victim. There was a suspect. There was an investigation.

After almost nine months, multiple notebooks have been turned in by Connally ISD Police Chief Ronnie Price to the McLennan County District Attorney's Office regarding the indecent exposure investigation of former Connally Junior High Assistant Principal John Simpson .

Now, there is more waiting as the district attorney's office determines whether the elements of a criminal offense have occurred, and whether to proceed with prosecution.

In the meantime, taxpayers in and around Connally ISD will continue to foot the bill for the law firm representing Connally ISD in two complaints from two former teachers filed with the EEOC.

Central Texas News Now asked attorney Peter Bagley, a veteran of school law with Blumberg Bagley, how stringing out an investigation for almost nine months impacts taxpayer's wallets.

"As a parent, should I be concerned about that?"

"Absolutely!" said Bagley.

For taxpayers, that means paying Connally's law firm, Walsh Gallegos, for possible things, such as:

  • Interviews
  • Research
  • Depositions
  • Transcribing depositions
  • Court reporters
  • Phone calls
  • Copying and postage expenses
  • Sending emails
  • Road trips
  • Referral fees
  • Consultation fees
  • Subpoena fees

As a shareholder with Walsh Gallegos, Attorney Mark Goulet is at the highest level an attorney can be paid hourly, with $315.

According to a source close to Central Texas News Now, here is Walsh Gallegos's hourly pay structure:

  • Associates License - $230 an hour
  • Associates License, one to two years - $240 an hour
  • Associates License, over two years - $295 an hour
  • Shareholders - $315 an hour

If Connally ISD Superintendent Wesley Holt, or any of his administration, used Walsh Gallegos for just one hour a week since November 2018 when the school first claimed to have found out about John Simpson's behavior, it would add up to $1,260 a month for taxpayers. Multiply that by nine months and it adds up to $11,340.

That's just one hour a week. Two hours a week for nine months: $22,680 Three hours a week for nine months: $34,020 Four hours a week for nine months: $45,360 Five hours a week for nine months: $56,700

"That is just extraordinarily long for a school district to investigate a so-called incident of sexual harassment. And, absolutely. That does not normally take that long and if it's being dragged out this long, then yes, parents should be going to this board of trustees and asking questions," said Bagley.

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