in Houston, Texas
Texas Monthly’s Mimi Swartz talks about 'corruption' in Houston ISD
Monday, Sep 26, 2011, 05:28PM CST
By Mike Cronin

One of Texas’ most prominent journalists says she wishes she could have described the “corruption” in the Houston school system in a recent piece for Texas Monthly.

In a companion question-and-answer piece to her profile of Houston schools Superintendent Terry Grier in the magazine’s current issue, Executive Editor Mimi Swartz says she would've written about school board malfeasance had she had the space:
If I could have written a longer story I would have written more about the corruption on the school board. How it works, who is most guilty, how entrenched it is. There are reformers who believe this corruption dooms the whole system, and there were days when I agreed. Because so many educated, powerful, and wealthy people send their children elsewhere, the board doesn’t have the kind of leadership it should have. The kids just don’t come first.
Fortunately for the public, Texas Watchdog is leading the way in reporting on ethical issues in the Houston schools.

And folks throughout the country are noticing. The Wall Street Journal posted a link to our Thursday story on questionable behavior by Houston school board members.

Officials at HISD – which is the nation’s seventh-largest school district, has a $1.6 billion annual budget and about 203,000 students – already have changed some of their procedures due to Texas Watchdog’s reporting and are examining whether to change more.

Those steps include:
Texas Watchdog has reported on further questionable practices by HISD officials in many stories in recent months. Some of our story topics:
Contact Mike Cronin at or 713-228-2850. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelccronin or @texaswatchdog.

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Photo of money by flickr user Images_of_Money, used via a Creative Commons license.
Tuesday, 09/27/2011 - 07:26AM

Keep up the good work, Mike. HISD is a cash cow for peopel with friends in high places. Nt only for vendors but employees as well. Do you know how many incompetent Senior Managers are in residence at CFS. I can think of two right off the bat. One was promoted because of his relationship with Paula Harris and now heads custodial and grounds operations. The other lost millions as head of construction and now oversees outside vendors.

Tuesday, 09/27/2011 - 11:15AM

We appreciate the compliment -- but more importantly, anyone with any information about connections between HISD elected officials and employees, or ties between anyone at HISD and vendors/contractors, please get in touch with Mike. We can keep your identity confidential. Call Mike at 713-228-2850 -- feel free to call him after-hours or on the weekend and leave him a message. If you need him to get back in touch with you, leave him a number where he can reach you after-hours. You can also e-mail him at If you're concerned about your e-mail being traced back to you, create a free Gmail account and use that to communicate with us. You can also mail us tips and information to Mike Cronin, Texas Watchdog, 945 McKinney St. #221, Houston TX 77002.

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