Friday, October 16, 2009

DISD Owes More CEI Payments

When DISD paid out the first Teacher Pay for Performance Awards at the end of 2008, there were a number of teachers who did not get their incentive. A large number of teachers did not get theirs because their administrators did not do the required multiple observations. Another large group did not get theirs because they did not meet the 95% attendance rule.

On December 18, 2008 the Board of Trustees voted to pay those teachers who did not get their incentive because their administrators did not do their job. Those teachers have since received their incentive from DISD's General Operating Budget instead of the Teacher Incentive Fund Grant used for the program.

Last Sunday night, I was going over the minutes from the DISD Trustee meetings for the last two years. I was compiling the voting records of Trustees on important issues to employees when I came upon the minutes for the December 18, 2008 meeting.

To my pleasant surprise, and somewhat my chagrin because I was at that meeting and somehow missed this, I came upon the recorded discussion and actions where the Board voted for General Operating money to pay teachers who missed their Performance Pay Incentives.

"Mr. Garza made a friendly amendment to Dr. Blackburn’s motion that we include as part of this compensation, any teachers that did meet the academic standards and raised their students’ level but did not meet the 95 attendance level rule.

The board voted on Dr. Blackburn’s amendment with Mr. Garza’s friendly amendment. The motion passed 5/4 with Adam Medrano, Jerome Garza, Leigh Ann Ellis, Lew Blackburn and Ron Price voting yes. Voting no were Carla Ranger, Edwin Flores, Jack Lowe and Nancy Bingham.

The main motion as amended was voted on. Motion passed 7/2 with Carla Ranger and Jerome Garza voting no."
DISD Board Minutes, December 18, 2008.

According to these minutes, teachers who missed the payout because of attendance should also have been paid their incentive from General Operating funds. They have yet to be paid.

As soon as I found this, I emailed DISD's new Executive Director of Human Development - Claudia Rodriguez. She responded on Monday that she is getting the documentation from DISD Legal and Board Services and will be pursuing this further.

NEA-Dallas will be pursuing this as well. The way this reads is that teachers who missed the award because of attendance should have been paid already. Regardless of whether they filed a grievance or not, they should have been paid.

And, paid the 2008-2009 payout rates! Not the 2009-2010 rates that have been cut by 60%!

If you are a DISD teacher who missed last year's Teacher Pay for Performance Award payout because of attendance, please call us at 214.821.2061. Give us your name, the school you were at last year (if not the same as this year) and a contact number. DO THIS REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU ARE A MEMBER OF NEA-DALLAS! I will be taking this list to the DISD Administration and Board to get these payments underway!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


No letter of reprimand. No administrative leave. Not even a slap on the wrist. Nothing, zilch, Nada. A little tongue-lashing from Trustee Carla Ranger, but that's about all that came out of today's specially called board meeting to discuss possible disciplinary action against the Superintendent.

I can actually believe that a "clerical error" placed the raise for the the Chief Academic Officer on the September 24 agenda instead of the October agenda. However, two things came out during today's conversations that, if I were a Trustee, would have required SOME kind of action!

Under questioning from Trustee Ranger, Superintendent Hinojosa admitted that he learned that the raise was mistakenly on the agenda some 24 hours BEFORE the September 24 Board meeting. Why didn't he then call the Board President and inform him of the mistake? Why didn't he at least inform the Board BEFORE the Consent Agenda came up for a vote that one item had mistakenly been placed on there and needed to be removed?

He KNEW that the item was on the agenda and said NOTHING! He KNEW it was on the agenda and only said something some days later after getting busted. HE KNEW and DID NOTHING!

The second statement that caught my attention today was when the Superintendent said he directed staff not to implement a duly-approved board action. He said he directed staff not to implement the raise when he learned that the Board really did not know what they had voted for.

Trustee Ranger, gotta love her, pointed out that she didn't believe the Superintendent had the authority to just ignore, or direct staff to ignore, a duly-approved Board action. This was quickly passed over, but Trustee Ranger is correct. Since when can a Superintendent NOT IMPLEMENT something the Board has approved? I think never.

Trustee Ranger moved that an independent investigation be conducted into what happened. She did get a second from Trustee Dr. Lew Blackburn, but lost the vote 1 to 8 when the question was called. Ranger made another motion to place the Superintendent on administrative leave, but that motion died for lack of a second. The Trustees then moved for adjournment, voted in favor, and the meeting was adjourned.

I thought I had seen it all in DISD, but today took it to a new level. If any other employee in the DISD violates district policy, they are promptly handed their termination letter. But not the Superintendent. He doesn't even get a letter of reprimand, slap on the wrist, nothing, zilch, Nada. Unbelievable...