SBCISD Lays Off 37 Employees

Staff Writer

After a week of walking on eggshells since last week’s announcement that some employees would be facing unemployment, a list of 37 names was finally reveled at a special school board meeting on Monday. Superintendent Dr. Marc A. Puig read off his list of identified names to the school board who unanimously passed most of the names listed.

Dr. Puig explained the process as part of his three year plan that was approved last month, stating that, “If five were employed doing the same line of work and under the restructuring plan, we will only need three, then those individuals would then have a chance to reapply for those positions,” he said. “The overarching purpose of this process is to ensure future efficiency and effectiveness in the way we conduct business for our children and taxpayers of San Benito.”

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Central Office Counseling Department- Janie Lopez
San Benito High School: ARD Administrator- Juan Lopez
Testing Coordinator- Laura Gonzalez
Counselors- Celeste Gonzalez, Diana Lozano
Deans- Juan Martinez, San Juana Martinez, San Juanita Ortiz
Secondary Migrant Counselor- Rosa Vazquez
Vocational Coordinator- Mauro Avilez
Veterans Memorial Academy: Counselor Lidia Martinez
Deans of InstructionSam Mendez and Maria Rodriguez
Secondary Migrant Counselor- Alfredo Espinoza
Administrator Cristobal Rojas
Counselor Celina Grienier
Gateway to Graduation:
Counselor Rene Cortez
Berta Cabaza:
Dean of Instruction Jennifer Resendez
Miller Jordan:
Dean of Instruction Cynthia Clayborn
Riverside- Dean of Instruction Maria Ester Gonzales
Fred Booth- Instructional Specialist Belinda Gomez
Dr Cash- Instructional Specialist Laura Gomez
Ed downs- Instructional Specialist Criselda Arellano Chavez
Landrum- Instructional Specialist Aleida Chapa
Rangerville- Assistant Principal Diana Atkinson
Instructional Specialist Melinda Maya Balleza
Frank Roberts- Assistant Principal Virginia Romero
Instructional Specialist Emilia Kupec
Instructional Specialist Monica Munoz
La Encantada- Instructional Specialist- Elizabeth Leos
La Paloma- Assistant Principal Ema Gonzalez
Instructional Specialist Jimmy Richmond
Dr. Garza- Assistant Principal Nora Martinez
Instructional Specialist Marlene Araiza
Oscar de la Fuenta- Assistant Principal Scott Hausler
Instructional Specialist Cindy Ramirez
Angela Leal- Instructional Specialist Jessica Rodriguez



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  1. The superintendent should expose all the shenanigans that caused our district to go broke; for example, excessive hiring practices, super high salaries( under qualified professionals), and all the political favors. The person to blame is the financial director! Only in San Benito will a person that allows this to happen get a contract extension… Ridicules… Go ahead and continue blaming the board… Pathetic

    • Vanessa on May 20, 2015 at 9:37 pm
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    SBCISD HR Director: How can positions be eliminated and then re-advertised at a lower pay? Sounds fishy to me.
    Hope someone read the Federal Guidelines.

      • Pepe Roni on May 22, 2015 at 11:33 am
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      If you notice, they are also creating this positions advertised for internal applicants only.

      It is just the recycling of the same individuals.

      “q:plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”

      TRANSLATION: The more things change; the more things remain the same.

      c’est la vie My friends.

      • truthandjusticeforall on May 22, 2015 at 2:07 pm
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      The question that should be asked is why do we still have so many retire/rehires at the top of the pay scale? Wouldn’t it be less costly to have these teachers continue at the lower end of the pay scale? I mean, they’re in it for the kids, right?

    • Puzzled on May 20, 2015 at 1:05 pm
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    It puzzles me how they felt that the alternative schools could do with only one counselor to run all four. There are only two counselors for all four. If they needed to cut back on a useless position then they need to do their research. There is one position at one of these schools that is a total waste of tax payers dollars.

      • Old Man on May 20, 2015 at 1:52 pm
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      Puzzled, you are right. Cut back on useless positions such at 5 home bound teachers that just drive around doing there shopping during school hours because they have no children to serve.

    • I TELL YOU.... on May 12, 2015 at 8:31 pm
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    Questions… as i stated sometime last week…Limon hired his previous SECRETARY…Guerra.. with out him being even certified or qualified to which us parents and teachers questioned. But then we were informed he signed off on the paper work right before he received his suspension and his hiring authority was stripped of, so he then couldn’t be touched. And again at a that time..BAAMMM…$12,000 pay raise…so that’s when Rollie started feeling UNTOUCHABLE and began his.. well you know what we all know…I TELL YOU..!! ( investigate, investigate, investigate..)

  2. This is for the editor or the SB news – you take down parts of your readers’ posts but what real reporting are you doing? Are you asking the hard questions? You allow SBCISD to get off the hook for everything. Do some real reporting and do a real story. I will help you with stories. Why were 37 employees let go and 35 positions opened up in the same week? Story 2 or can be part of Story 1 – Why were the jobs taken down from the SB website then posted again the same day? Story 3 or can be part of story 1 or 2 – are there 35 jobs still open or are they just listing less positions that many will get? Story 4 – Why did the school board pass the Children’s Learning Institute at UT Health Center at Houston at a cost of millions of dollars when they knew we had no money? Story 5 – Why did they put a pay raise on the agenda December 2014 if they knew we had no money? Story 6 – Will the new 3 yr plan reduce the amount of teachers in the classroom? If yes, what will the average class count be? Ask the hard questions. Are you scared they will not use your paper to run SBCISD ads? Nothing I just said is slanderous if you do your reporting or do some any reporting.

    1. John,
      Thank you for your concern.
      We are, at this very moment, working diligently on providing the public with answers to many of the issues surrounding the SBCISD, as well as the city. Please understand that obtaining the most accurate and factual information regarding some of these issues can be time-consuming, especially with topics so sensitive to the community. Thank you for the tips and we will continue to look into them in a timely-fashion.

        • I TELL YOU.... on May 12, 2015 at 8:42 am
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        THANK YOU JOHN…. I AGREE AND WELL SAID…!!!! also Mr. Editor let’s not forget about my and the other parents concerns on you know who…. (Rolando Guerra)… again. .. YOU’LL HAVE A FIELD DAY.

      • Questions on May 11, 2015 at 10:06 pm
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      While we are asking questions, why was the superintendent allowed to hire a friend of his to be principal at Riverside without having to interview for the position? The answer according to informed sources, he was allowed by the board when he was hired to bring in two or three individuals with him no questions asked. For all of you that complain about compadres… do you explain this? What about all the qualified local individuals that were not even granted an interview!

  3. First I want to congratulate you, Mr. Vargas, for running a great campaign and I know you will be a great SB school board member but with that being said I need to get some things out in the open. This RIF that we are under seems to be just an attack on teachers, in the long run give but, please give me a second to explain. The board let go of 37 employees on the 4th but then offered 35 jobs back so really 2 people were let go (That was as of Friday but Monday the jobs are down so not sure what’s going on – nope, jobs are still there just one opening for many positions, not fooling anyone). SB 3 yr plan assumes for a 7% turnover this year, a 6% the 2nd year and finally a 5% turnover rate the 3rd year. That does sound about right but we both know the bulk of that will come from the teachers and hourly personnel but mostly teachers. If the school district follows this plan administrators will outnumber the teachers. I’m asking you, Mr. Vargas, to protect the students here at SB because if this plan is followed we will avg 35 per class or more. We are not overstaffed in the teaching positions; we are overstaffed in administration. With this plan teachers will not get a chance to move up here at SB because the principal knows if a teacher leaves they will not be replaced. This plan will not help the kids of San Benito. Look at the numbers; how many real teachers do we have, not what they count as teachers but the individuals that are in front of kids every day. I hope you would reply to this if it makes it on the blog. I know you will do the right thing. Thank you and I wish you much success as a board member.

    • Marco on May 8, 2015 at 1:22 pm
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    Good work Dr. Puig. If these people are so good and soooooo educated that have been terminated; then they should have no problem finding another job. Brownsville has a big school district. Many of these people and others have been riding this “gravy train” for too long. I hope this is just the beginning of “trimming the fat”. The haughty attitude of some of these folks that got “axed” needs to change when they get work elsewhere. The surrounding school districts won’t tolerate the sanctimonious posture that some of these names display during the school day.

    • Maria on May 8, 2015 at 7:29 am
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      • Questions on May 11, 2015 at 10:26 pm
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      Maria, question? What was the fund balance when Limon was suspended for a year? Answer, 18 million
      Question? What do the charts that Superindent Puig posted on the district web page show? Answer, that for four years prior to the year Limon was suspended the district was very well run. Question? Should a superintendent be allowed to hire and bring with him individuals that don’t even have to interview for a positions? Answer, the new principal at Riverside. Maria, you should be ashamed!

    • Selena on May 7, 2015 at 8:57 pm
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    I tell you, you are so right, an administrator should be doing his job on taxpayers dollars, not personal errands, family obligations should be done on free time. Dr Puig please make sure your. Principals know how to respect and talk to and not down to parents and students. I know our children are not perfect, but I do know Mr Guerra can be very judgmental, harsh and uncaring with these students. My child only survived because of the former counselor, Louise Howard. If any place should have a fully trained staff that knows how to work with these students should be PRC.
    I know Mr Guerra would never have liked the treatment my son received if he had a son and they did the same to him. Just remember charma.

    • Fed Up! on May 7, 2015 at 4:11 pm
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    The town of San Benito is in need of major changes, it starts with YOU. It begins with voting for people who will actually do good for the district, not someone who knows nothing about how to run a business. The school district is a business that has been ran by a bunch of people who were voted in and were allowed to destroy a district that people used to envy. These cuts that are being made are ridiculous. When a business does bad you cut the people responsible!!! Counselors, really??!! Have people lost their minds? These kids need guidance. The at risk students at PRC have built a trusting relationship with the counselor there and you cut her and then post her job today (for more money!! ). Lets talk about the teachers that left the classroom in the beginning of the year to become Instructional Specialist, they are now either a teacher or I.S. for the district. Shame on you Board Members and new Superintendent!!! Hey Dr. Puig, how about take a pay cut? I hope the people of San Benito open their eyes and see that the last Board President made such a mess of a great district, oh don’t get me wrong she did it with the help of the others sitting by her side. SAD SAD SAD!

    • I TELL YOU.... on May 7, 2015 at 8:17 am
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    What a darn JOKE… no so called big names on this list, just some hard working LITTLE MAN. We must agree on alot of the LIMON ERA made up positions are gone now, but some i feel were actually useful such as Celina Grienier, Cristobal Rojas and Rene Cortez to name a few, reason being that their campus is full of AT RISK YOUTH plus since Rolando Guerra is never around at any campus THEY WERE THE ACTUAL STAFF THAT WAS RUNNING THE CAMPUS. Cindy Ramirez and Janie Lopez were other made up positions. Last but not least (excuse my ignorance) what in the heck do Deans of instructions and Instructional Specialist do anyway… what does that job description consist of…can anyone make sense of the senseless…..I TELL YOU..!!!!

    • Hold People Accountable on May 6, 2015 at 10:24 pm
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    Ridiculous that counselors were let go. Come On! Who does Dr. Puig think is going to help high school students with their graduation plans? Certainly not the assistant principals.

    Well I guess he has been misled by the board president because REMEMBER EVERYONE MR. PADILLA KEPT SAYING THAT THE DISTRICT WAS OVERSTAFF.

    Really Mr. Board President? When was the last time you visited a high school classroom? When was the last time you spent any time on any SBCISD campus?

    You and your good buddy, Yliana, let this mess happen. She allowed it to happen as the former board president and you Mr. Padilla let it continue when you became board president last May

    How are these employees suppose to pay their mortgages? How are they suppose to pay for their child’s college tuition? How are they suppose to take care of their families?

    I hope all the San Benito Voters go to vote and remember that Yliana and Fatima put all these employees out of work. Don’t believe me…. just go back and read the San Benito Newspaper.
    It’s all there.

    • Questions on May 6, 2015 at 9:53 pm
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    Will the 37 on the list dwindle down. I hope so. They are good people that have responsibilities. The migrant employees, let go will not safe any money. Migrant money if not used goes back to the feds. The 12 instructional specialists were also federally funded so that won’t help the fund balance. The inside story is that new more efficient positions will be created. How will they be funded? Some of the 65 positions not filled mentioned in the articles are teachers. Will those teaching slots now be doubled up? Still many questions remain to be answered.
    Just one more question, does the Superintendent that is scheduled to get a $5,000 raise live in the district as his contract calls for? Or does he pay taxes to the Los Fresnos School District?

    • ReformSanBenito2 on May 6, 2015 at 5:20 pm
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    Are the Instructional Specialist the same individuals that were placed/promoted to the district’s reading initiative program which was implemented this school year?

    • francisco on May 6, 2015 at 3:24 pm
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    This is absolutely horrible. That is a lot of good people being let go. The economic effects will be just as bad. For what it’s worth, for those unfortunate to seek employment elsewhere, Northside ISD in San Antonio will be hiring and pays quite well from what I understand:

    • What's next? on May 6, 2015 at 3:19 pm
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    So what about all of the “support staff” for these positions that no longer will exist? Will the secretaries and such be let go as well? And are these the last of layoffs for this year? There are still many on pins and needles wondering if their position is indeed secure for next year.

    • Inquiring Minds on May 6, 2015 at 12:50 pm
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    Why exactly were Instruction Specialists and Deans of Instruction needed to begin with? We used to have principals and asst principals running a campus before just fine.

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