The Valley View ISD Board of Trustees voted to suspend Superintendent Monica Luna with pay at a special meeting Friday evening pending an investigation into the process by which she was granted a contract.
Luna was hired by the district as superintendent just last month.
“We want to make it clear, it’s not a performance based issue with her,” said the district’s attorney, Gus Acevedo. “The board respects her roots in the community and her longevity with the district, but as the facts emerge there were issues related to the process for the award of the contract.”
Acevedo says he will begin looking into the contract process after the district’s Thanksgiving break, and hopes the matter can be resolved in mid-December.
“You never know where these things go, but it’s my hope we’ll be able to bring something to the board so they’ll be able to decide by the second week,” he said.
Acevedo says Luna was awarded a three-year contract being paid $185,000 per year.
Luna said Friday that she was surprised by the board’s decision and noticed nothing out of the ordinary in the contract process. She says she didn’t learn her position was going to be discussed until she was asked to put it on the board’s agenda.
“It’s something that you don’t expect,” she said. “Like I said, my parents showed me work ethic at the beginning and I always believed that would get me through all my positions.”
According to a district news release from October, Luna, a Donna native, has worked with the district since 1996 in a variety of capacities that include principal and assistant superintendent.
She called Valley View her “second home” and described her excitement to helm the district in the statement.
Acevedo said Luna’s fate will ultimately be up to the board. Board Vice President Anthony Pinla declined to comment Friday, referring questions to Acevedo.
Several people describing themselves as teachers and district employees spoke at the meeting in favor of Luna, complimenting her character and work ethic.
“My first year at Valley View was very difficult, and I had a hard time adjusting,” said Sandra Riojas, assistant principal at Valley View High School. “Ms. Luna was my biggest supporter. I knew even then that I could always count on her to tell me the truth, to always give me straight answers, to provide me with guidance when I needed it, to be fair and to always advocate for our students and no matter the situation, to always strive to do the right thing.”
The board is scheduled to discuss and possibly appoint an interim superintendent at a special meeting slated for Monday.