Former Lancaster superintendent Elijah Granger has a new job with the former school board president who voted last year to pay him more than $ 2 million when he tried to leave the district.
The board of directors – with Ellen Clark as president – voted 4-3 in November for a heavy severance payment for Granger without explaining the reason for the separation. But that payout was quickly withdrawn after the board majority changed that month.
Now Granger is one of three real estate agents working for Town Square Realty, a Clark company. He’s been taking real estate courses since January, and Clark is the sponsor of Granger’s week-long real estate license.
“Elijah is a disciplined, dedicated agent with integrity and a winning demeanor,” reads Granger’s biography on the real estate website. “His determination earned him a degree in educational leadership – which is perfect for meeting and understanding the needs of the community.”
Granger didn’t respond to requests for comment on his new job. Clark told The Dallas Morning News that Granger asked her to sponsor his license, and the two had been friends before he was superintendent.
“I’m his broker and he didn’t come here until he stopped getting money from the school district and resigned,” said Clark. “He has the right to live his life.”
The two never discussed a potential real estate working relationship while serving on the board of directors and on the school board of Lancaster, Clark said.
Community members responded online to a picture of a billboard promoting Granger’s new role. Commentators called Clark and Granger’s working relationship very suspicious, noting that the move didn’t look good for the city. Another commenter pointed out that Clark runs an independent business and can work with whoever she wants.
The longtime real estate agent characterized questions about her new professional relationship with Granger as making something out of nothing and as a result of her critics’ prejudices against her.
“There is so much hatred here,” said Clark.
Granger finds himself in the middle of a protracted battle for his position with Lancaster ISD. The board narrowly voted to buy out his contract, which would have expired in October 2025. The trustees didn’t say why they made such an extraordinary decision less than two weeks after being awarded a new five-year contract.
Clark lost her election in November. With a new board majority, the trustees voted 4: 3 for their attorneys to negotiate a new exit package and give Granger paid vacation. They later voted to fire Granger and void his payout.
In December, a Dallas County judge blocked payment until at least October of that year.
Granger appealed his termination and until a final decision is made or a judge acts, Lancaster and the former superintendent are holding the severance payment on hold.
Granger offered to settle with the district for a much smaller amount than the initial buyout of $ 2 million, but the district refused, Clark said.
The Texas Education Agency opened an investigation into the buyout and allegations that Clark used district resources for her own business. That investigation is ongoing, and Clark has denied that there was ever a conflict of interest.
Stay connected with the latest in education Sign up for our weekly newsletter.
The DMN Education Lab deepens reporting and discussion on pressing educational issues that are critical to the future of North Texas.
The DMN Education Lab is a community-funded journalism initiative supported by the Beck Group, Bobby and Lottye Lyle, the Communities Foundation of Texas, the Dallas Foundation, the Dallas Regional Chamber, Deedie Rose, the Meadows Foundation, and the Solutions Journalism Network from Southern Methodist University and Todd A. Williams Family Foundation. The Dallas Morning News retain full editorial control over the Education Lab’s journalism.