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20120210_Dr.Benavides-LJISD-SuperintendentLA JOYA — The La Joya Independent School District School Board approved extending Superintendent Dr. Alda T. Benavides’s contract for another two years at Wednesday’s board meeting.

After executive session, LJISD school board came back to announce they would extend Benavides’ contract and said that her evaluation was overall exemplary.

Benavides will not receive a raise until looking at next year’s budget, which the board will do by October.

“This was done because she has done such a great job,” said Irene Garcia, board member.

Arnoldo Ochoa, board president, said he looks forward to the two years ahead with Benavides.

“Dr. Benavides has done excellent by guiding us,” said Ochoa.


Trustee Espie Ochoa said data always drives their decision-making and it showed in Benavides’ evaluation with results from state tests, AEIS, observations and performance.

“Actions speak loud,” said Espie.

Board members often question Benvides, but Espie said questions are good.

“With questions comes transparency,” Espie said.

Garcia said a lot of work has been done in the district to improve academics.

Benavides said the extension to her contract gives her the opportunity to move forward.

“There is still a lot to be done,” said Benavides.

She said her main goal is to continue developing the college going culture in the community. She wants to make it not be an option to the students the district serves, but more of a household word. The district has applied for a second early college high school and a T-STEM high school.

She also wants to address Type 2 Diabetes and other health concerns that are prominent in the community, as well as promote literacy.

“Great schools build great communities, and everyone wants to be a part of a great community,” said Benavides.

Other items

The board approved selecting 20 acres north of Flores Elementary and Leo Elementary schools for the LJISD outdoor pool or natatorium facility and the services of an architectural firm to design and develop specifications for the facility.

Although the board has not made the final decision to build the facility, Benavides said they needed to select a location so that the specifications could be made. The item will be brought back to the board once the architectural firm develops those specifications, which will include a cost for the facility.

The board approved the base bid for the construction of the new LJISD child nutrition warehouse for under $7 million. Food services will be paying $1.5 million of the cost.

Also approved was the additional part of the bid including the police station. The new police station will cost just under $2 million.

LJISD Police Chief Raul Gonzalez said they have outgrown their current location, a house behind the football stadium. The new police station will be located in a centralized location.

Gonzalez explained that the current location is not able to sustain the vision of school district or the new technology the school district is implementing.

The new police station, he said, will help sustain the high tech equipment, reduce costs for travel time and better service to the students, district and community.

“(We need) a building that will help us implement everything, all of those things that we’ve done so that we are able to provide a better service to our community and to our kids,” he said.

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