Working A School Board – Part 1

compadre1By Molly Mulebriar

School Trustees are elected officials who retain enormous control and discretion over millions of taxpayer dollars. In South Texas where I am from, taxpayer funded “honey pots” magnetize fortune seekers, from roofing companies to insurance brokers to building contractors. Changes in school board majorities each election cycle bodes well for those with the foresight to fund political coffers. Hedging bets by contributing equally between contested seats is a well honed skill, utilizing various partners privy to the scheme.

Typically, individual vendors find it difficult to succeed in gaining lucrative contracts with South Texas school districts without help from influence peddlers. It is a time honored tradition. However, on occasion these conspirators turn fractious once contracts are awarded. Disagreements on monetary splits cause angst, without recourse to the legal system or publicity. To do so would expose the conspiracy and bring scrutiny from regulatory agencies.

These squabbles are never public. They remain private, most of the time.

Take the case of a South Texas school district’s recent change in group health insurance. The district was facing an enormous rate increase. An enterprising insurance agent, keen on a relatively new health insurance medical reimbursement strategy, felt the district could save money, sensing an opportunity to save the district hundreds of thousands of dollars while earning lucrative fees in return.

But he knew he couldn’t count on enough votes to swing the contract. He needed an influence broker………………….