Education

FWISD administrators get significant salary increases

Interim Superintendent Pat Linares recommended the salary adjustments, saying some administrators were earning salaries that were less than their counterparts in other large urban school districts.
Interim Superintendent Pat Linares recommended the salary adjustments, saying some administrators were earning salaries that were less than their counterparts in other large urban school districts. Star-Telegram archives

Several Fort Worth school district administrators received substantial salary increases — one was $41,000 a year — and were named to permanent positions after about a year on the job.

Interim Superintendent Pat Linares recommended the adjustments, approved by the board on a 6-3 vote, saying some were earning salaries that were less than their counterparts in other large urban school districts.

Five administrators who were in acting positions were appointed to permanent jobs, one was promoted, and one was a new hire, records show.

Voting for the increases were board President Norman Robbins and Trustees Matthew Avila, Tobi Jackson, Judy Needham, T.A. Sims and Christene Moss.

“We feel it would be in our best interest to go ahead and approve these,” Robbins said. “It’s taken so long we felt we needed to move on in order to allow the district to continue to progress.”

Voting no were Trustees Ashley Paz, Jacinto Ramos and Ann Sutherland. Paz said she objected because the district is getting ready to hire a new superintendent, who should make those decisions.

“I trust her [Linares’] judgment,” Paz said. “But she’s not going to be around in three months to hold these people accountable for their performance.

“This is putting a lot on a new superintendent in giving them [the administrators] all the contracts,” Paz said. “I didn’t want to tie the new superintendent’s hands. … I just wasn’t comfortable with the decision at this time.”

School board members are expected to hire a new superintendent in August.

The promotions were approved with little fanfare at Tuesday’s regular board meeting. Before the vote, Sutherland said: “Some make sense to me; others aren’t so clear to me … so I’m voting no.”

Sutherland also said she believes the emphasis on administrators would send the wrong message to teachers, who have not been told whether that they will get raises for next year.

Linares told the board that she did not believe that the adjustments hamper the new superintendent, nor did she see it as a slight to teachers.

“We will continue to take care of the teachers in our school district, and we will continue to take care of the staff,” Linares said. “That has been our goal all along.”

Before the salary increases, some of the administrators were collecting stipends ranging from $12,000 to $17,784 a year, records showed. The administrators who got raises will no longer receive the stipends, officials said.

Also, at least one administrator whose salary remains the same will not receive a stipend, records show. Jerry Moore, who was promoted to executive director for administrative learning, will continue to make $119,325 a year.

Linares said that some of the administrators were earning salaries below state averages, according to a salary survey conducted by the Texas Association of School Boards.

One was Elsie Schiro, who became the district’s acting chief financial officer in August 2014. Schiro now will earn $185,000 a year compared to her annual salary of $143,744.40 as acting financial officer.

Schiro’s counterparts in districts such as Austin, Houston and Dallas, make more than $210,000 a year, according to the salary survey, school officials said.

Linares said it could be fall before a new superintendent could take the reins of the district. That would mean many administrators would remain in temporary roles for months to come — affecting the stability of the district.

She also said that the promotions allow the district to fill any open positions with new hires over the summer months.

In the Fort Worth school district, an assistant superintendent is a top administrator.

Yamil Berard, 817-390-7705

Twitter: @yberard

Fort Worth schools salary adjustments

Stipends were offered to acting administrators before salary increases occurred. After the increases, all the stipends were dropped.

▪ Sara Arispe, promoted from interim to permanent associate superintendent of accountability and data quality.

Adjusted salary: $144,453

Previous salary: $123,957.60

Previous stipend: $12,000

▪ Karen Molinar, promoted from interim to permanent assistant superintendent Learning Network 1.

Adjusted salary: $135,352

Previous salary: $111,478.20

Previous stipend: $12,000

▪ Cherie Washington, named assistant superintendent Learning Network III (new hire).

Salary: $135,352

▪ Mariagrazia Sheffield was promoted from interim to permanent assistant superintendent of special populations.

Adjusted salary: $135,307

Previous salary: $123,307.20

Previous stipend: $12,000

▪ Michael Steinert, was promoted from interim to permanent assistant superintendent student, support services.

Adjusted salary $129,672

Previous salary $115,980

No stipend

▪ Elsie Schiro, was promoted from interim to permanent chief financial officer.

Adjusted salary: $185,000

Previous salary: $146,774.40

Previous stipend $17,784

▪ Jerry Moore, promoted to executive director for administrator learning.

Adjusted salary $119,325

Previous salary $119,325

Previous stipend: $12,000

Source: Fort Worth school district

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