GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - The Grand Prairie ISD School Board meeting Thursday night focused on a FOX 4 New investigation after we looked into the money spent for a house where the superintendent now lives.
Taxpayers bought a home and property for close to $700,000. New invoices revealed an additional $125,000 was spent on renovating the home.
The school board asked an outside attorney to conduct an independent review after the bill for those upgrades was split up in error. The split invoices allowed the expenses to bypass school board approval.
Grand Prairie ISD bought the four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home a year and a half ago. A district spokesperson says GPISD needed the land to build a road to alleviate traffic from the popular garner fine arts academy.
The spokesperson says the plan is to put an educational facility in the home's place, but the district has no timetable for a road or educational facility. Despite plans to potentially demolish the home, a FOX 4 investigation exposed the district has spent $125,000 on renovations to the home.
“The board takes the stewardship of the GPISD tax dollars very seriously,” said new Board President Steve Pryor. “We understand that there has been community concern, which is why we’re taking this step so that we’ll have a better understanding of the whole situation. And we hope to have a report back to the board as quickly as possible.”
Terry Brooks, who was board president until Thursday’s first meeting with the newly-elected board, cited costly mold remediation as a reason for the costly renovations. But the invoices released to FOX 4 said nothing about mold and instead referenced things like patio ceiling fans, granite counter tops and caulking a pool deck for $1,200.
The district has yet to respond to FOX 4’s request asking for any proof of mold remediation at the house.
In her first comment on public reaction to the district's big spending, Superintendent Dr. Susan Hull said "It's difficult for some people to hear from others who don't always agree. But all of our opinions matter. All of our thoughts matter. Sometimes our information isn't always as accurate as we would hope. But I have complete faith in this board making sure the accurate information comes through them those of you who are interested."