The school district, KISD Superintendent Cara Cooke says, is in the midst of developing a plan for the property, a process that does not include outsideinvolvement, but that stated intent has been ignored.
"I feel like they have been trying to bully us," she
said, "and I do not appreciate it, on behalf of the district, on behalf of the trustees, on behalf of this community that deserves to be treated with more respect than has been put forth."
In a follow-up letter to Cooke
March 3 he
wrote, "Your explanation for not delivering the letter to the trustees was unpersuasive ...
Responding to the criticism Tuesday, Cooke
at a loss for words.
"I have no idea why it's become personal shots at me.
has said, I will say on a personal note, that is all untrue," she
"It really doesn't get us anywhere.
I don't really know why he's
choosing to go down that road."
Having hidden nothing from the board, Cooke
has nothing to hide now and has prepared an exhaustive timeline of the district's interactions - hers and board members - with Saccoccio and Dormitory Direction
Yes, at the end of the timeline, Cooke
concluded the developers have acted unprofessionally.
"I still stand on that.
That is the only thing I have personally said about them," she
"When you go back to the facts, which I think is where we need to stay, I have proof, I have foundation for that.
All they're doing is just using words."
The facts, Cooke
notes, are that the district has a public strategy plan for Kilgore Heights, one that includes longtime-partner Kilgore College.
No proposals have been requested, none have been formally received and none will be - that's not on the table because it's not appropriate in light of other priorities.
"At Kilgore ISD
, with the property of Kilgore Heights, we have not put that out for public bids or proposals.
It was never out there for any bids or proposals," Cooke
"We have been, for the past two years, talking with Kilgore College
about their interest in this to expand the college and the needs that they have," being effectively landlocked, "and our desire to provide opportunities for our students of the City of Kilgore to have access to higher education opportunities through dual credit."
Whether anything will materialize of that back-andforth, Cooke
Regardless, "That is where we have been, as directed by the KISD board of trustees," she said, with ongoing negotiation as the number one priority for the property.
"Number two would be, if that falls through, then we will open it up to outside bids and proposals."
tried to communicate that status to Soccaccio and the other developers, to no avail.
While reluctant to simply turn someone away, "I already knew we were headed this direction," and entertaining an outside firm's plans - when no proposals have been solicited - would be inappropriate.
The message, Cooke
says, went unheard or ignored, contending the developers breached proper protocol in lobbying trustees to consider their plans.
"That's where we are," she
"I'm frustrated that this has pulled my time and other people's time away from the task at hand," which is providing for the district's students and employees.
"I am spending valuable time saying the same thing over and over again, trying to defend the district and defend myself when it's not necessary."
doesn't want to go any deeper into 'he said, she
said' than necessary.
"I'm sorry they are trying to make this personal," she
It's one thing to apologize, Cooke
said, another to follow it with more and more criticism.
"This is very disturbing and something I don't believe this community - this community that I've grown to love - wishes to be a part of," she
said, part of Kilgore for two years now.