By FRANCISCO E. JIMENEZ
Special to the NEWS
The San Benito CISD Board of Trustees held a workshop on Thursday, July 17, in which they discussed the search process for a new superintendent of schools with Waterford School Services Inc., which will be conducting the search.
“The workshop’s intent was to get a perspective from every trustee and an opinion on what they’re looking for in the qualities in a new superintendent,” said SBCISD Board President Arnold Padilla. “This afforded us an opportunity to discuss those thoughts and ideas. It also gave us an opportunity to set a schedule for the next couple of months.”
The schedule will include everything from public input and participation to government entities that the Board may want to question.
“It is an opportunity to reach out globally, in essence, to the entire community and try to get everybody’s ideas, input, interests and concerns of what they’d like to see in a new superintendent,” said Padilla.
In attendance for the workshop were Dr. Jess Butler and former SBCISD Superintendent Dr. Felipe Alanis, representing Waterford.
“The workshop was called to set the calendar for the search and to discuss the qualities and qualifications of the superintendent that the Board is looking for, to discuss the recruitment process, the background reviews, to discuss ways we can involve the community and to make certain that they’re aware of the search and to invite the community to share with the board those qualities they think are most important that will help guide the search,” said Butler, who further noted that the firm anticipates having an open and transparent search for the new superintendent. Butler added that the Austin-based firm intends to place advertisements in national publications.
One of the main staples of the discussion held on Thursday was emphasis on the community’s involvement in the search.
“I think it’s really healthy for the community to be involved and put their input about who they’d like to see,” said Alanis. “We’re committed to being as inclusive as possible, visiting with many factors of the community and stakeholders so that it can be a successful process in the end.”
One way the firm and the Board of Trustees plan to get the community involved is by utilizing a survey, which will soon be available on the district’s website. The Board also provided the firm with a list of approximately eight community leaders so that the firm can meet with each individual and discuss what they would like to see in the new superintendent.
According to the firm, the deadline to apply for the superintendent post will be on Oct. 7. Dates will also be set for interviews as well as a date for the community to visit with the finalists.
“The idea is that the new superintendent, he or she, will begin work in January of 2015,” Butler said.
Also on the agenda for the workshop was a presentation and discussion on the district insurance plan. The presentation was prepared and presented by Lorenzo Sanchez, MCA, CPA.
“For the Board, they wanted to know what exactly what is the status of the self-funded program,” said Sanchez after the workshop. “Can they afford to continue and be self-funded, or should they go out and have a fully-insured company come in? It is a good program and a very good plan that is very oriented towards the employees, but they needed to know what is the bottom line. They needed to fully understand how all of the pieces work together. That was my objective.”
“There is always a concern about insurance and insurance costs… Can the district sustain what it’s doing? Those types of concerns were brought to me months back,” explained Padilla. “At the June 10 meeting, I asked for there to be a financial analysis. That way, we could get a true picture of just where we are in our financial commitment to health services for our district employees.
“Not that we believe that what we are providing is something that we shouldn’t, Padilla added on Thursday. “It’s more of the perspective of is it something that we can continue to afford in the form that we currently have, and do we need to adjust for it? Tonight’s effort was to really bring it down to a simple format where everybody could see the true picture of what the district spends on a monthly basis.”