Following the District Education Improvement Council meeting earlier this week, the Mission Consolidated Independent School District board of trustees voted to approve the proposed District of Innovation plan chosen by the DEIC this Wednesday evening.
The plan was drafted and revised by the DEIC and MCISD administration since its announcement at the last board meeting. According to Superintendent Carol Perez, administration visited each MCISD campus to present the (DOI) plan to teachers.
“We know that our [DEIC] members have a job to do, their primary job is to teach,” Perez said. “Therefore, the administration decided not to give this responsibility of doing the whole presentation to the committee members or campus administrators. We went campus by campus and provided a presentation.”
Two public comments during the MCISD regular called board meeting held Wednesday focused on the DOI. Mindy De La Rosa, the DEIC representative for Mission High School, spoke in favor of the designations.
“I can honestly say that Dr. Perez, Mrs. Garcia and all other district administration have been extremely transparent throughout the entire process concerning the District of Innovation proposal,” De La Rosa said. “They have never wavered on what the purpose was for considering this plan, and tried their best, in my opinion, to listen and address all concerns of those seeking information.”
De La Rosa added that she had documentation that she was elected into her position with the DEIC, which was one of the concerns of some of the teachers at Monday’s meeting.
“No one wanted this position in DEIC for many years when I volunteered to be nominated,” De La Rosa said.
Miguel Garcia, an AP U.S. History teacher at MHS, called the democratic process at MCISD into question.
“I’m not here to speak against proposed changes our central office administration have decided are in the best interest of our district,” Garcia said. “My issue is that we as a district have done a poor job of imposing a committee for this incredibly important matter.”
“I ask the board to decline the DOI plan, and form a committee that is truly representative of Mission CISD,” Garcia added.
Board member Betty Mendoza, who has missed a few of the DOI meetings due to a recent medical surgery, had a few clarifying questions for Dr. Perez about the plan. Perez said that the teachers had the opportunity to speak to their DEIC campus representative, they got a presentation on the plan and had time to ask questions about it.
Perez also added that administration took teacher feedback and addressed their concerns about being able to amend the plan over the next five years. In the agenda and in the district plan, the district specifically states that no options to amend (add or subtract) the DOI plan.
Ultimately, the board members present unanimously voted to accept the DOI plan, which includes designations as a DOI for flexibility with the school calendar and Career and Technical Education (CTE) certification requirements.
“Transparency was always there,” Board President Petra Ramirez said. “Everybody was available. We’re not going to go out there and do something that we’re not going to benefit from.”
The board also approved the new 2019-2020 academic school year calendar, DOI Calendar A, which was voted on by MCISD employees.
This week’s meeting also included a presentation of a report conducted by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). The report, called the Employee Compensation Plan Review, compared MCISD employee pay of teachers and administration to other districts in the area, including La Joya ISD, Sharyland ISD, McAllen ISD, Donna ISD, Edinburg CISD, Harlingen ISD, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD and Weslaco ISD.
Luz Cadena, with TASB HR Services, presented the review. It recommended a change in the pay systems in order to recruit new employees, retain current employees, control costs, stay competitive over time and pay for job value.
The review considered the districts in the market (listed above), and compared the market salaries at the median level and market salaries in the 75th percentile to the Mission CISD salary. According to a chart and table comparison, MCISD was near the market median, but still below.
TASB made six recommendations, including adopting a 2 percent general pay increase for all job groups, adjustments to address differences in the market and maintain equity within the district and a commitment to annually review the district compensation plan in order to adjust as needed.
In total, the recommended costs would create an estimated total increase of 4.2 percent, or $4,048,273 to the current payroll budget. The board listened to the presentation, but took no action on the item.