The dealings with the Hempstead School district and a Chappell Hill plumbing company, owned by the husband of the Hempstead school district’s business manager, could be the focus of investigation of the Hempstead Independent School District. A search of the district’s records show that S & D Plumbing, has received $153,000 in work from the school district in the past seven years.
Precinct Three Waller County Constable Herschel Smith says he wants an investigation of the Hempstead School district after getting repeated reports from citizens complaining about thousands of dollars being misappropriated in the district. Many of the reports Constable Smith has received say they were not going out for bids for the work. Some charge that the plumbing work was kept artificially low for the work did not have to go out for bids.
Smith began his own investigation in January and says he has found the district has no accountability
Smith said he used the open records act to obtain records avoid the appearance of trying to ‘strong arm’ anyone in the district.
At the same time that Smith began his investigation, new Hempstead School Supt. Delma Flores-Smith , who took over the district in August, sought to ensure financial books were accurate and initiated her own independent audit.
The district has 1500 students, half of them Hispanic.
Both the superintendent and the constable, who are not related, were disturbed by what record searches uncovered. The records had enough disturbing information that the district placed longtime business manager Sharon Lokanis, on paid leave until the investigation is complete.