The Austin Chronicle

Drama at Round Rock ISD Reaches a Temporary Resolution

The district’s board of trustees decided not to part ways with its superintendent, ending a months-long saga

By Morgan O’Hanlon, March 18, 2022, News

More than two months after Round Rock ISD placed its Superintendent Hafedh Azaiez on paid administrative leave, the district has decided not to part ways with its leader. The decision is a win for parents who championed Azaiez's policies on mask-wearing throughout the summer and fall of 2021, when he pushed to require masks in schools in defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott. It also was a win for the five trustees who've supported Azaiez throughout the process despite vocal challenges from two trustees, Mary Bone and Danielle Weston, who've publicly levied accusations of corruption against all other trustees, and the Texas Education Agency, which appointed a monitor to oversee actions of the board on the basis of another, unrelated allegation.

Another segment of highly vocal parents who've turned out in droves to ask for Azaiez's removal are frustrated that he will continue to lead the district. For months, they've demanded the board of trustees remove the superintendent on the basis of an affair he had with an Austin woman, who also levied abuse allegations against him.

The decision comes after the board of trustees reviewed a TEA investigation into Azaiez's actions in the relationship and the subsequent protective order filed against him by the woman. (That report was also finalized and approved during the board meeting last week.) Although the protective order is public record, some details of the affair are unclear because no criminal charges were filed; a settlement agreement was reached between the two parties.

Weston and Bone described the agreement as "hush money." Both those trustees and their supporters have vowed to continue the fight leading up to the Novem­ber election, when about half of the current seats will be up for reelection. Meanwhile, a censure of those two by the rest of the board is still under review by a Williamson County court after a decision was punted yet again earlier this month.

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