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Dallas ISD Rehires Former District Chief as Superintendent

The Dallas Independent School District (ISD) Board of Trustees approved the rehiring Dr. Michael Hinojosa, 59, as superintendent of schools in a 6-to-1 vote on Tuesday night.

Hinojosa, the district’s former superintendent from 2005-11, also served as interim superintendent following district chief Mike Miles’ sudden departure in late June.

Hinojosa signed a $335,000-per-year contract immediately after the board vote.

“I’m honored and ready to begin this new chapter here in Dallas ISD. Our board, students, staff and community are ready to raise achievement and to make Dallas ISD a premier school district,” said Hinojosa in a statement. “Let’s get to work.” He does not anticipate any significant changes in the district at this time.

Only one board member voted no in protest that the board did not conduct a more extensive superintendent search. In September, the board voted 8-1 to name Hinojosa the lone finalist for the job.

His two-year contract expires in December 2017. Although Hinojosa forfeits health insurance plus car and phone allowances, he keeps his $200,000 pension from his last stint as Dallas ISD’s superintendent, when he earned $322,832.

Although a previous teacher-retirement law signed by former Gov. Perry makes it tougher for educators to double dip and collect a salary and a pension simultaneously, KXAS-5 (NBC) reported Hinojosa commenting on his pension: “Well, that’s my earned benefit. That’s something that people have their own personal income. It’s not related to the job, the skill, effort, and responsibility for this position,” Hinojosa said. “It’s totally separate. And it’s something that an old guy has earned over a long period of time.”

Texas American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union spokesman David Lee chimed in on double-dipping: “We have teachers in Dallas that have retired that are receiving their pension as well as their current salary … so I think that he has earned that pension.” Texas AFT is an affiliate of the second largest teachers union nationwide, the American Federation of Teachers. In July, the Randi Weingarten-led executive council endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.

In a press release, Dallas ISD listed that under Hinojosa’s direction, the district’s graduation rate improved five consecutive years, voters approved a $1.35 billion bond program, and they opened several new schools, including Trinidad “Trini” Garza Early College High School, New Tech High School at A. Maceo Smith, and the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy. The district also credits Hinojosa for working with the board to lay the foundation for their new teacher evaluation system that later became the Teacher Excellence Initiative.

Dallas ISD board President Eric Cowan feels optimistic about the rehired superintendent. “Dr. Hinojosa understands what work is needed to advance Dallas ISD today, and as we look into the future,” he said. “We have some heavy lifts ahead to ensure all students are college and career ready. With Dr. Hinojosa at the helm, the board is confident we will get there.”

Dallas ISD is the second largest school district in the state and the 14th largest in the nation.

Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.

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