San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

November 10th, 2010
Shafer to act as San Marcos CISD interim superintendent

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Patty Shafer.

STAFF REPORT

San Marcos CISD Superintendent Patty Shafer has agreed to remain as Interim Superintendent until a new person can be found to fill the position. Shafer announced her resignation in August, saying she wanted to address family matters.

Shafer had previously announced that her retirement will take effect on Dec. 31. In compliance with the requirements of the Teacher Retirement System (TRS), she will officially retire at the end of November. After she has retired for the month of December, she will resume duties as interim superintendent in January on a half-time basis.

Shafer will then work with the new superintendent until he or she is able to assume the leadership role.

Said Shafer, “The board and I were concerned with loss of continuity as the district goes forward with initiatives. This plan should help make the transition smoother and less stressful as we move toward new leadership.”

During the summer, San Marcos CISD trustees raised Shafer’s salary to $175,075. It is reported that she will earn $1,549 per day as the interim superintendent.

San Marcos CISD trustees hired Bob Griggs and Associates in September to conduct a nationwide search to fill the superintendent position. In October, Griggs and Associates met with San Marcos CID educators, residents, parents and business leaders to receive input on the superintendent profile for the San Marcos community. A total of two citizens attended the meeting.

Griggs and Associates will actively recruit candidates through the end of January. The consultant will screen, interview and select candidates who fit the San Marcos CISD profile in February and March. By March 21, the search team expects to supply the trustees with a set of sample questions to begin the process of interviewing. The interviews will be conducted the week of March 23.

San Marcos CISD trustees expect to land on one finalist at the end of March. The board will visit the finalist’s school district.

The board is projected to meet again on March 31 to discuss the visit and vote on the finalist.

A 30-day waiting period will follow the vote. The board will meet to approve the new superintendent’s contract on April 21, 2011.

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23 thoughts on “Shafer to act as San Marcos CISD interim superintendent

  1. As we consider this ridiculous paycheck and the conversations about a new admin facility, it would be good to take note of the report released today by our comptroller, Susan Combs. It looks at “bang for the buck,” matching our spending against our academic results. It is unlikely the district will issue a press release for this report, or hang any banners across any major thoroughfare, as the comptroller rated SMCISD 1.5 stars, our of a possible 5, essentially saying that we are over-spending and under-performing.

    fastexas dot org

  2. We’ve paid beau-coup bucks over the past 6-7 years for out of state consultants for Balance Literacy even though the district had created about 15 local “academic coaches” to do the same job.

    How did our district spend any stimulus money? didn’t we get some?

  3. I have no idea. This report didn’t (that I saw) look at sources of money. It just looked at what we spend and what we get. The answers – a lot, and not a lot.

  4. GREAT Find – Ted. I hope the local media will pick up on this story as there will be NO PRESS RELEASE for these results!

  5. Mike is right, “SMCISD is rated in the bottom 10% of school districts statewide” probably wont be sent out via the district newsletter

  6. Oops sorry SMLN

    I’ll try w/out link

    statesman. com /news/local/two-area-school-districts-get-high-marks-in

    SMCISD wasn’t interviewed (or declined?)

  7. Here is the link to another article (“Report links school spending with academic performance”) highlighting San Marcos getting one and a half stars compared to other districts attaining much higher marks:

    statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/education/entries/2010/12/08/report_links_school_spending_w.html?cxntfid=blogs_homeroom

  8. From the A/S story

    “School districts and schools were judged on how much money was spent relative to their scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. Using formulas to link spending with academic progress, the report sought to compare districts in an unbiased way. Student progress was measured with controls for demographics and other characteristics. A spending index was developed using a number of measures including the percentage of spending used for instruction and the ratio of budgeted to actual spending. A district would earn a five star-rating by showing improved academic performance and fiscal efficiency.”

    My guess is that the school district will claim, as they always do, that the SMISD demographics are responsible for the poor performance of our schools. Watch them try to ignore the fact that all the demographics were factored into the score.

  9. According to the fastexas site, they took that into consideration, scoring us against similar districts. Apparently they’ve heard that story before.

  10. Frankly, whatever the explanation, I’m pretty tired of it all. That’s the great thing about being one of the approximately 10% of districts receiving 4.5 or 5 stars, or being one of the 20% of districts receiving exemplary ratings: no tap dancing and explaining required.

  11. Pop on over to the SM record page to read some reactions by our district officials. I’m not so much concerned by the district’s fiscal efficiency, as by the *extremely* low scores it has received in academic progress – which neither of the quoted officials addresses AT ALL.

    Sigh.

  12. Just saw that article in the SM Record.

    From a media relations perspective, acting superintendent of schools Michael Abild gets an A. He says he sees value in the report, is impressed with the effort Combs’ office put into it, and said the data will be helpful. I don’t see him blaming demographics, but I may have missed it.

    In contrast, School Board President Kathy Hansen gets an F. Her comment: “I’m not too concerned about it. I’m concerned about getting the best education for our students.”

    Sorry Kathy. Wrong answer. Defensive, dismissive, evasive. FAIL.

  13. I’m not concerned about the spending, in and of itself, either. I am concerned about getting nothing for it, other than an overpaid super and a potential new admin facility. If we were on the cusp of an exemplary rating (which we are FAR from) and the board was lobbying for more money, to fund some academic programs, I’d be all for it.

    Sadly, we are not on the cusp of an exemplary rating; we are still horribly under-serving poor and Hispanic students; very few of our graduates are college ready and we’re essentially doubling Shafer’s salary (which was already among the highest in the state) and talking about millions of dollars for an admin facility.

    Ridiculous.

  14. I agree with Tarl – Abild did a good job in the SMDR article. I would be interested to know what other senior members of the administration have to say about 1.5 stars…

  15. To proclaim we are “RECOGNIZED!” seems a bit misleading to the general public. I would typically think “RECOGNIZED” means above average or distinguished. But in terms of TEA ratings, “RECOGNIZED” simply means we are about the same as most districts in Texas.

    For 2010 (not including charter schools):
    “Exemplary” – 18.5% of all districts in Texas;
    “Recognized” – 55% of all districts in Texas;
    “Acceptable” – 25% of all districts in Texas;
    “Unacceptable” – 1.5% of all districts in Texas.

    In fact, the distribution of ratings (think bell curve) has been fairly consistent for many years:
    fairly few “unacceptable”;
    about 1/4 districts “acceptable”;
    about 1/2 districts “recognized”;
    about 1/4 districts “exemplary”.

    So folks, when you see the banners, signs and web sites proclaiming “RECOGNIZED” keep in mind that 55% of school districts in Texas have reached the same measure of accomplishment.

    The real question: Is “RECOGNIZED” good enough?

  16. Not only that, but you can (and we did) get a recognized rating with underperforming campuses. So, exemplary elementary schools lift up academically acceptable middle school and high school.

    In fact, as far as I can tell, it is only a bit of smoke and mirrors that kept us out of the Academically Unacceptable basement *again.* Recall that we got that rating when our graduation rate for Hispanic students dropped to just under 75%. The numbers are a bit tricky to sort out, but here is the meat of it:

    Class of 2006 – 75.8% graduated in 4 years and 15.4% continued
    Class of 2007 – 70.3% graduated in 4 years and 15.6% continued
    Class of 2008 – 69.2% graduated in 4 years and 12.5% continued
    Class of 2009 – 68% graduated in 4 years and 25.5% continued

    It sure looks to me like we decided not to count some dropouts as dropouts, or we had one hell of a turn-aroud, to effectively double the number of students who decided to press on after four years.

    If I had less faith in humanity, I’d wonder if $180k+ super applied any pressure anywhere, to change the counts before she bailed. It sure does look like those chickens will come home to roost pretty soon, unless we have a miraculous graduation rate from those 25.5% who “continued.”

  17. Those numbers are for the entire district. For the high school, 4-year graduation rates for Hispanic students dropped from 74.1% to 62.7%.

    On the “bright side,” white students dropped from 92.8% to 83.3%, bringing the overall graduation rate from 79.5% to 69.9%. So, at least we aren’t singling anyone out with our mediocrity anymore.

    69.9%

    That’s outstanding. If that were my district, I would have retired to be with my family before those numbers came out, too. I just don’t think I would have had the audacity to offer to stick around at more than double my salary, while the district looked for someone to clean up the carnage I was leaving behind.

    Well played.

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