LISD Board releases reins on hiring choices
By LPR Staff
After a heated debate on Monday evening, the Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees decided to place their trust in the district superintendent where certain hiring decisions are concerned.
In the past, all personnel matters, from the approval of substitute teachers to the hiring of campus principals, has come to the board for
discussion and final approval. However, last month a suggestion was made that some of that control be relinquished to the superintendent. The suggested policy change came back before the board on Monday.
“[During a performance review] I would hate for [our superintendent] to have to come back to the board and say that he didn’t get a job done because he didn’t have the right people in place and he couldn’t get them in place,” said Tom Guyton, himself an educator who suggested in August that the trustees “get out of the hiring business.”
Guyton said it was up to the board to set goals for the district superintendent, and that a board policy about hiring should not hold a superintendent back from achieving those goals.
The suggestion was met with resistance from Trustees Timoteo “Tim” Juarez, Jr., and Juan Alvarez, whose concerns ran the gamut from changing board policy without going through the channels spelled out by the board to concerns about the possibility for nepotism or “good ole’ boy” hiring.
“One of the reasons the current policy is in place is to provide checks and balances,” Juarez said. “And I don’t want to see us not have those checks and balances in place. I’m not saying this superintendent [would abuse this authority], but this opens the door down the road for a superintendent to make hiring decisions based on the possibility of greater rewards.”
Superintendent Jose Parra assured the board he felt comfortable taking on the responsibility, and said he would not be capricious about his hiring or firing.
“I’m not going to bring someone in that isn’t qualified, just like I haven’t presented someone not qualified to the board,” Parra said. “And I’m not interested in dismissing people without a just cause.”
Ultimately, the board decided, shifting the responsibility for personnel issues serves to streamline the hiring process for the district, making it easier to recruit, hire and retain viable candidates for positions.
While the majority of Trustees voted in favor of the policy change, Juarez and Alvarez voted against it. Trustee Derek Benavides was absent from the meeting.
In other business, the board recognized several members of the Air Force Junior ROTC, who attended and excelled in Summer Leadership School this year. The cadets were on hand in uniform to be recognized, and more than half a dozen graduated within the top ten of their class from the leadership school.
The trustees also recognized members of the Lockhart Evening Lions Club who volunteered to act as guides and mentors for students on the first day of school. All told, more than a dozen volunteers helped ease children through their transitions this year.
In brief news:
The trustees discussed their cash investment and tax collection reports for the past month.
They approved an agreement regarding the extracurricular status of 4-H, and approved an adjunct faculty agreement with the organization.
They granted permission for the LHS Cross County Team to travel to Arkansas to participate in the Chili Pepper Invitational on Oct. 17.
The board accepted a donation from the Lockhart Evening Lions Club in the amount of $710.68 for school supplies. The funds were raised during a one-day fundraising drive prior to the beginning of school.
The LISD Board of Trustees routinely meets on the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Lockhart High School Conference Center. The meetings are open to the public and also available via web-stream at www.lockhartisd.org.