Socorro Independent School District

Socorro (Texas) school superintendent placed on leave

March 27, 2024
An audit has found that Nate Carman, who announced last month that he is leaving the district, may have a conflict of interest with regard to a district contract.

The superintendent of the Socorro (Texas) school district has been placed on administrative leave after auditors said he was involved in a potential conflict of interest.

The El Paso Times reports that the board the board voted 6-0 to place Nate Carman on administrative leave with pay after external auditors hired by the district said that Carman may have steered the district to contract with ADM Group, an architectural consultant.

The audit found that Carman took several steps shortly after arriving in the district in 2022 that led to the award of contracts to ADM, with whom he had previously done business.

Carman said last month that is he resigning from the Socorro district to take the top job in the Higley Unified District in Gilbert, Arizona.

Travis Casner of the Weaver & Tidwell auditing firm told the Socorro board that Carman directed a change in scoring criteria to make it easier for ADM Group to be selected for work in the Socorro district. At Carman’s recommendation, the board also gave the superintendent deeper involvement in reviewing contracts in the bidding process. 

ADM Group was contracted in May 2022 to complete a facilities analysis on 16 gyms in the district. The contract did not need board approval; the district’s policy requires purchases to go before the board only if they are worth over $100,000. The contract amount was set at exactly $100,000.

Carman later revised the scoring criteria for the bid proposal to remove 20 points previously given to companies that had done work with the district in the past. ADM had not previously worked for Socorro.

Weaver & Tidwell has recommended changes to the district’s purchasing procurements practices, including reviewing the policy that allowed Carman to chair the bid review committee.

Auditors also recommended the district review its policy that allows administrators to approve purchases under $100,000 without board approval.


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