Most of us in the private sector have been making adjustments to withstand the national economic downturn. Actual unemployment is over 16%, and many of those employed have seen incomes reduced significantly. Now taxpayers who have been tightening the budget belt are expecting government to do the same, and Texas legislators are working to cut excess.
One person who won't be feeling any financial pain however, is Round Rock Independent School District Superintendent Jesus Chavez. Last week the RRISD board voted to extend the Super Super's contract by one year at the exact same salary as last year, $252,875. It seems his benefits, which totaled about $303,375 in 2010, will remain the same as well. While we had hoped Jesus Chavez would follow Leander Superintendent Bret Champion's noble example in taking a $20,000 pay cut and reduced benefits, it seems Chavez prefers to keep his salary at $102,000 more than the Governor's.
Sadly, many of our RRISD Board members voted for this status quo contract extension because they were told a 'no' vote would be a vote of 'no confidence' in the Superintendent. One member, however, refused to play the game. Trustee Terri Romere cast the only nay vote, saying that while she approved of the Superintendent's performance, she did not think the compensation package fiscally responsible in light of coming budget cuts.
This blog is probably one of the few places you will read about the Superintendent's new contract; it seems Jesus Chavez prefers to keep the hostages front and center, as demonstrated when he notified 234 first-year teachers they would not have jobs next year. Never mind that Round Rock Independent School District has $198 MILLION in its own rainy day fund, never mind that the District only spends 36.8% of revenue on instruction, never mind that only 53.8% of District staff are teachers.
Even though our local newspaper omits relevant information about the District's reserve funds, it is my hope that these teachers slated for lay-offs will push back against the Administration. (The fact that Teacher Union politics is forcing Districts to keep terrible teachers while firing new and enthusiastic teachers is a whoooole 'nother blog post.) It's really too bad the Superintendent prefers to manipulate the situation for maximum emotional and political impact, while his own household economy continues to enjoy prosperity on the backs of taxpayers and teachers.