Ousted Fort Worth Superintendent's Parachute Is Really Golden Even by Dallas ISD Standards

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Former Dallas Superintendent Michael Hinojosa is one of several district employees over the years to leave with large golden parachutes.
There's plenty of money to be made in public education. You just need to be in the right job to make it. And once you're in that job, it helps if you can get fired.

Take Walter Dansby. The former superintendent of the Fort Worth Independent School District, Dansby resigned Monday, leaving with a golden parachute worth more than $900,000, according to The Dallas Morning News.

But when you think of unnecessarily large sums of cash, you think not about Fort Worth ISD but about Dallas ISD, the fertile land where Jennifer Sprague once roamed. So what has Dallas ISD shelled out when some of their supers and other employees have left? Let's take a little tour through Dallas ISD's very golden history of very golden parachutes.

Waldemar "Bill" Rojas
Rojas took over as super before the turn of the century, and only lasted 11 months, according to The Dallas Morning News. Our own Buzz wrote back in 2000 that the severance package was $90,000. But Rojas didn't think that number was high enough, so he threatened to sue the the school district. In 2002, the school board agreed to hand over $135,000 to avoid him filing a defamation suit against two former trustees, according to the News.

Michael Hinojosa
The longest-serving supe since the 1980s, Hinojosa manned the ship from 2005 to 2011 before hightailing it to Cobb County, Georgia, near Atlanta, where more than 300 students spent a night in school because he didn't end the school day soon enough. Under Hinojosa, DISD experienced a financial rough patch but also improved academic scores. After unsuccessfully campaigning for the superintendent job in Las Vegas, the Oak Cliff native signed a three-year contract extension, then bolted for Georgia two weeks later. When Hinojosa took the Georgia job, he was eligible to make about $200,000 a year from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

Shirley Ison-Newsom
A long-time Dallas ISD administrator, Ison-Newsome managed to leave with a golden parachute of $142,000 in 2012.

Rebecca Rodriguez
Rodriguez served as the district's communication chief from March 1, 2013, to June 24, 2013. She then resigned and received four months of settlement pay and benefits, which is longer than she actually worked for the district. According to the News, she received $12,916 per month.

Mike Miles
Who knows how big current Dallas ISD super Miles' golden parachute could be? His contract states he makes an annual salary of $300,000, with yearly bonuses for his performance and student performance. (Dansby had a base pay of almost $340,000, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.)

Of course, it might not be such a good idea to push Miles off the plane, even if he had such a glorious 'chute. As Eric Celeste wrote on Learning Curve, D Magazine's education blog, Miles only has one year on his contract left, and the board will likely extend his contract. Celeste also reports that if the board gave Miles another two years, getting rid of him would cost around $800,000.

That's close to Dansby's airspace, but not quite there. Then again, everything's negotiable.

Send your story tips to the author, Sky Chadde.


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26 comments
sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

government jobs are not suppose to be CEO of a private company in nature


the gov has told you it should be that way and you bought into it



holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Make them sign a clear, plain language, and unequivocal agreement at hiring - If the graduation numbers do not improve by 10% in five years, there will be no golden parachute.  None.  Zero.

or words to that effect.  Tie the job directly to performance.

and forget comparing their salary to what CEOs get in the private sector.  That's another problem entirely.

lecterman
lecterman

Is it $900,000 annually or a total of $900,000?


If that is a total of $900,000, is that really unreasonable considering he had a 40 year tenure, with a decent amount in administration?


Not trying to justify it, just wondering if some sensationalism is going on here.


It's not like he is one of those folks getting huge payouts after 2 years in a job.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@holmantx 

So, if graduation rates reach 99%, they'll only get paid if rates increase to 108.9%, eh?  That's funny.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

Every article available on the web uses the term.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@lecterman 

you're right, if it were $900K each year that would be pretty outrageous.

Dansby is to receive the $900,00 over (I believe) 3 payments which are contingent on his continued work until the end of January, 2015.

Subsequent to that payout he will receive his pension from the Teachers Retirement Fund which I recall hearing in the TV report was a bit over $200K/YR.

I think he will be comfortable in his retirement...

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@bvckvs

As a proud member of a problematic system for which reform most likely would lead directly to your unemployment, avoiding the real discussion is your safest haven.

I'm sure your co-workers would agree.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@TheRuddSki 

you should look again, the most common word in the articles when one googles "Walter Dansby" is "resigns".

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk 

You're math would be just as wrong in the future as it is in the present.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@mavdog

I take it you don't like seeing mavdog lampooned or effectually challenged.

That's ok, neither does he.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@mavdog

Both are used. They mean the same thing. He was ousted.

But do me a favor, could you go further and get the full data?

We need to know how often each term was used exclusively, how often both were employed, whether they were in the head, lede, or buried, the ideological roots of each of the publications, etc.

When you get all this data together proving beyond doubt that you are correct in whatever argument you're presenting, let us know.

(Ps: Nixon "resigned")

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@TheRuddSki 

"effectually challenged".

uh huh. sure. thanks for the laugh.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@TheRuddSki 

"Both are used"

oh, if "both are used" why did you say "Every article available on the web uses the term."

you are the poster who used the word "every". if "both are used" why didn't you say "many" or "some"?

do you not understand the meaning of the words you write? did you not pass when you took english?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@mavdog

You screwed up the italicized words. How seriously are we to take your arguments after this?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@mavdog

Because every article I saw when I googled it used "ousted".

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@TheRuddSki 

"every article"?

do us a favor, could you go further and get the full data?

We need to know how often that term was used exclusively, how often it was employed, whether it was in the head, lede, or buried, the ideological roots of each of the publications, etc.

When you get all this data together proving beyond doubt that you are correct in whatever argument you're presenting, let us know.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@mavdog

If you're going to copy/paste my mocking of your anal approach and firm grasp of meaningless capillary, you should direct it at someone who consistently employs such argument. That be you, amigo, in case I went over your head (I went waaaay over Myrna's)

Or, try using humor that will draw a chuckle from more than yourself, if, in fact, you know WTF "humor" is.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@TheRuddSki 

it seems that you have a serious problem with being mocked....do you do this with every poster who correctly points out your deficiencies?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@mavdog

I google something. I see what I see. You don't like what I see when I google, and this is the result. Analism at it's finest. Be proud sir!

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@TheRuddSki 

"I see what I see"

that brings to mind the very appropriate quote "None so blind as those who will not see".

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