Former Dallas Superintendent Michael Hinojosa is one of several district employees over the years to leave with large golden parachutes.
Former Dallas Superintendent Michael Hinojosa is one of several district employees over the years to leave with large golden parachutes.

Ousted Fort Worth Superintendent's Parachute Is Really Golden Even by Dallas ISD Standards

There's plenty of money to be made in public education. You just need to be in the right job to make it. And once you're in that job, it helps if you can get fired.

Take Walter Dansby. The former superintendent of the Fort Worth Independent School District, Dansby resigned Monday, leaving with a golden parachute worth more than $900,000, according to The Dallas Morning News.

But when you think of unnecessarily large sums of cash, you think not about Fort Worth ISD but about Dallas ISD, the fertile land where Jennifer Sprague once roamed. So what has Dallas ISD shelled out when some of their supers and other employees have left? Let's take a little tour through Dallas ISD's very golden history of very golden parachutes.

Waldemar "Bill" Rojas Rojas took over as super before the turn of the century, and only lasted 11 months, according to The Dallas Morning News. Our own Buzz wrote back in 2000 that the severance package was $90,000. But Rojas didn't think that number was high enough, so he threatened to sue the the school district. In 2002, the school board agreed to hand over $135,000 to avoid him filing a defamation suit against two former trustees, according to the News.

Michael Hinojosa The longest-serving supe since the 1980s, Hinojosa manned the ship from 2005 to 2011 before hightailing it to Cobb County, Georgia, near Atlanta, where more than 300 students spent a night in school because he didn't end the school day soon enough. Under Hinojosa, DISD experienced a financial rough patch but also improved academic scores. After unsuccessfully campaigning for the superintendent job in Las Vegas, the Oak Cliff native signed a three-year contract extension, then bolted for Georgia two weeks later. When Hinojosa took the Georgia job, he was eligible to make about $200,000 a year from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

Shirley Ison-Newsom A long-time Dallas ISD administrator, Ison-Newsome managed to leave with a golden parachute of $142,000 in 2012.

Rebecca Rodriguez Rodriguez served as the district's communication chief from March 1, 2013, to June 24, 2013. She then resigned and received four months of settlement pay and benefits, which is longer than she actually worked for the district. According to the News, she received $12,916 per month.

Mike Miles Who knows how big current Dallas ISD super Miles' golden parachute could be? His contract states he makes an annual salary of $300,000, with yearly bonuses for his performance and student performance. (Dansby had a base pay of almost $340,000, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.)

Of course, it might not be such a good idea to push Miles off the plane, even if he had such a glorious 'chute. As Eric Celeste wrote on Learning Curve, D Magazine's education blog, Miles only has one year on his contract left, and the board will likely extend his contract. Celeste also reports that if the board gave Miles another two years, getting rid of him would cost around $800,000.

That's close to Dansby's airspace, but not quite there. Then again, everything's negotiable.

Send your story tips to the author, Sky Chadde.


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