Education

DeSoto's superintendent has been relieved of his duties. Sources say it was over football

Dr. David Harris after the Monday night special meeting of the DeSoto school board.
Dr. David Harris after the Monday night special meeting of the DeSoto school board. WFAA

The DeSoto ISD school board voted unanimously to relieve Dr. David Harris of his duties as superintendent in a special meeting Monday.

Sources told WFAA and FOX 4 that the conflict between Harris, who has been superintendent for nearly six years, and the school board stems from disagreements over the future of the DeSoto High School football team.

At the heart of the conflict is whether to hire back former Eagles coach Claude Mathis to replace Todd Peterman, who recently resigned, they told WFAA.

A district spokeswoman told NBC 5 only that Harris is on administrative leave pending an investigation into "concerns regarding the duties and performance of the superintendent."

DeSoto has also recently been embroiled in a controversial fight at a high school basketball game.

WFAA reports that Harris was given a three-year, $260,000-a-year contract extension in May, and that if he's fired, his contract will still be paid.

Some parents and Harris himself expressed shock at the action. But the school board's notifications regarding the special meeting indicate that the board intended to review Harris' employment.

Still, DeSoto resident Traci Sanders told WFAA, "There's got to be a reason behind this, and I can't wait to find out what it is."

Stephen English: 817-390-7330, @sbenglish74

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