Austin ISD board votes to extend Superintendent Paul Cruz’s contract by a year

Superintendent Paul Cruz speaks at an event in September.

Superintendent Paul Cruz speaks at an event in September.

In a statement made during Monday’s Austin ISD board of trustees meeting, board President Geronimo Rodriguez announced the district would extend Superintendent Paul Cruz’s contract by one year.

The extension, which was approved by the board in a 6-1 vote, will have Cruz remain in the district through 2021. Cruz will not be given a salary increase with the action, Rodriguez said.

District 1 trustee Edmund T. Gordon, who voted against the action, said his vote represents those who feel the district is segregated and that action must be taken in improve East Austin schools that are struggling.

“The ISD operates as two segregated school districts, one affluent with high levels of achievement and the other relatively less affluent corresponding with lower levels of achievement,” he said before casting his vote. “In my district, black and brown third graders who are predominantly of a lower economic status score as much as 50 points lower in reading and writing on state tests. This is unacceptable and a crisis, and this stark performance requires an urgent response. In the last few weeks Dr. Cruz and I have had some difficult conversations about the shortcomings of the district. Most of those [shortcomings] are not of the superintendent's doing, but he is our CEO, and the buck stops with him.”

In his statement, Rodriguez said the board has a responsibility annually to perform a superintendent’s evaluation and that Cruz and his team have achieved a number of significant accomplishments in 2017-18 school year. Accomplishments include overall TEA performance of a B, a federal graduation rate above 90 percent and the approval of the district’s 2017 bond, he said.
By Nicholas Cicale

Nick was born in Long Island, New York and grew up in South Florida. He graduated from Florida State University in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in writing and a minor in music. Nick was a journalist for three years at the St. James Plaindealer in Minnesota before moving to Austin to join Community Impact Newspaper in 2016.


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