They were called the "Good Hands Crew;" about 100 Fort Worth students who agreed to work on campuses this summer for just over $8 an hour. But good hands has ended in bad blood.
FORT WORTH -- They were called the "Good Hands Crew;" about 100 Fort Worth students who agreed to work on campuses this summer for just over $8 an hour.
But good hands ended with bad blood between the Fort Worth school board and the preacher who conceived the program.
District officials say The Rev. Kyev Tatum did not have authority or funding for the student work program. Tuesday night, the Fort Worth ISD board voted unanimously to seek legal action against Tatum. They did not discuss what type of action, but trustee Ashley Paz said Tatum should be held responsible for its impact on the district's budget.
The board recently agreed to pay students about $60,000 for their work.
"We thought we had an agreement," Tatum said Wednesday. "The students thought we had an agreement."
Tatum said top district officials — including then-Superintendent Walter Dansby — liked the idea when Tatum pitched it in May. But a May 27 follow-up e-mail from Fort Worth ISD told Tatum the maintenance department could not fund it.
Tatum said he didn't see that e-mail until June 2, and even then didn't realize it meant the program was dead.
"Wow! How do we fund it?" Tatum replied at the time.
"From that point up until July 27, there was no response from the district," Tatum said. "So who's really being disingenuous?"
Board member Ashley Paz said Tatum knew he didn't have the authority, but went ahead with the program anyway.
"The fact is, he never had a contract with Fort Worth ISD," she said Wednesday. "We are a public entity. You can't just go on a handshake and a nod."
Paz said she feels betrayed, because Tatum told he her he had secured the funding. She said he should now be held accountable for the cost.
"Absolutely. It shouldn't be a burden on the taxpayers," Paz said.
She said there's no doubt Tatum has helped students at Trimble Tech, his alma mater. He's run a mentoring program there since 2011.
But the district has not renewed that contract for this school year.