POSTED: Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 8:12am
UPDATED: Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 7:50am
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — "I feel they are retaliating against us because we question things and we are looking out for the best interest of the employees." said BISD Board of Trustees Member Luci Longoria.
Brownsville Independent School Board of Trustees members Luci Longoria and Caty Presas-Garcia say their voices weren't being heard by the school board president and the other school board members before a vote was made to approve what they say is a pay day loan program for employees.
"Because we ask questions we are being the ones left out, we are the ones being told be quiet don't speak." said Presas-Garcia.
"The board president has not allowed me to speak or talk during our debate sessions, he has ignored me." said Longoria.
Longoria and Presas-Garcia say they have some concerns with that recent vote to allow the Community Loan Center to offer loans to BISD employees.
Longoria says the loans are between $300-$1,000 dollars at an interest rate of 18%.
"18% is pretty high, that's not a low interest, if you want to have a low interest offer the loan at 1% or 2%, and they also fail to mention the $300 fee." said Longoria.
Longoria says that no other loan company was considered and there may be a conflict of interest.
"Because the lady that runs this loan company is related to one of our employees that's employed at BISD, one of our administrators."
This loan program is voluntary and the employees do not have to use the loan program if they do not want to.
We talked to the Brownsville Independent School District for a comment about the Community Loan Program.
We spoke with George Borrego. He is a member of the BISD Employee Benefits Committee.
The committee unanimously approved the program before it went to the school board for a final vote.
He says the loan program offers $300- $1,000 dollar loans for BISD employees at an interest rate of 18%.
BISD says a survey was completed by 2,500 BISD employees who favored the implementation of this program.
"It’s called a small dollar loan program, it is not, I repeat it’s not a payday loan program they are radically different. Our program is to help employees that are economically disadvantaged, they will be able to have access to a $1,000 at a respectable interest rate without credit history information and be able to develop a credit history.” said Borrego.
BISD adds there are currently 25 employers in the Valley participating in this program and more than 3,000 employees that are being served by the program.