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La Joya ISD super gets 5 percent raise in evaluation

La Joya ISD’s Board of Trustees granted Superintendent Alda T. Benavides a 5 percent raise, but declined to extend her contract Wednesday night in a rare split vote.

After a nearly two-hour executive session in which one of the items discussed was the superintendent’s evaluation, board members came back into open session and trustee Esperanza “Espie” Ochoa motioned to give Benavides a one-year extension. Trustee Oscar “Coach” Salinas broke in and said he wanted to make his own motion, granting a 5 percent raise but keeping Benavides’ original contract end date of 2018. Benavides’ current salary is $225,000.

20150213 LJISD-Superintendent“It was a high evaluation for her,” Salinas said. “Her contract still runs through 2018.”

Salinas said the board extended Benavides’ contract two years last year and two years the year before that.

The board, which votes unanimously on most issues, rejected Ochoa’s motion, with only Ochoa, Board President Johnn Alaniz and trustee J.J. Peña voting in favor of the contract extension.

Trustees then unanimously supported Salinas’ motion.

Benavides has served as La Joya Independent School District’s superintendent since 2006. She’s a product of the district herself, having graduated La Joya High School in 1971.

After the meeting, Alaniz said all seven board members are happy with the job Benavides is doing.

“We just thought it was going to send a bad message to the district that we weren’t going to give her an increase, so we wanted to give her at least a one-year extension,” Alaniz said.

Alaniz said the board went over things that need to be improved in executive session, though he declined to give details on what was discussed.

“We looked at some issues of her leadership abilities compared to her administration team doing what we feel needs to be done as a board and brainstorming the best things to do to improve in certain areas,” Alaniz said. “Just like anything else, you’re going to have your good things and your bad things. You have 30,000 kids, and you’re never going to be satisfied.”

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