San Marcos CISD’s $69 million budget will be overseen by a new assistant superintendent for business and support services — Jason Gossett — whom the school board chose on Monday by a vote of 3-0-2.
Gossett is currently the director of business services at Frenship ISD, a district just west of Lubbock with a $67 million budget and 7,000-8,000 students. San Marcos CISD has about 7,518 students.
Gossett will join San Marcos CISD in January, replacing Mike Abild, who is retiring with 30 years in public education. Abild worked for San Marcos CISD for four years .
“My wife and I absolutely love the San Marcos community and we spent most of our lives trying to get here,” Abild said. “And this is where we plan to stay and retire, and I can’t think of a better place to be than San Marcos, Texas.”
There were 28 applicants for the job, five of whom rose to the top. Out of these, a hiring committee referred two to Eads.
“I had approximately two three-hour interviews with the final two applicants,” Eads said to trustees on Monday. “Mr. Jason Gossett is the individual I’m recommending for your consideration…his recommendations were outstanding.”
Eads said Gossett is nine hours away from receiving a master’s degree in business administration. San Marcos CISD Trustee David Castillo said the ideal candidate for the job should have a master’s degree.
“If we’re going to pay this guy a lot of money, I’d like somebody who’s extremely — highly qualified,” Castillo said. “I’ve been in education for 24 years and I’m not impressed by this resume that’s in front of me.”
Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Lolly Guerra told trustees there may have been a couple candidates with doctorates. She said some applicants were retired superintendents.
“There were some with full master’s degrees, but not necessarily in the business realm,” Guerra said.
San Marcos CISD Trustee Judy Allen said a master’s degree may not make one candidate more qualified than another.
“We had a screening process, they had extensive interviews, they checked the references — I mean, that’s what we have a (hiring) committee for,” Allen said. “(Gossett) is working on his MBA…We did not do the interviewing but I trust (the committee’s) judgement.”
San Marcos CISD Trustee Lupe Costilla indicated doubt about Gossett’s qualifications and experience and said she would abstain from the vote “because I’m just not comfortable with the selection.” Castillo also abstained from voting.
“This number-two person at the school district needs to know exactly what they’re doing,” Costilla said.
Eads said Gossett meets all the job’s requirements and is highly qualified. Eads said Gossett has worked in large districts, has been a classroom teacher and coach, and was raised by parents who were school district superintendents. Eads said Frenship ISD’s budget is similar to San Marcos CISD’s.
“The five (top) applicants were interviewed, and all five (members of the hiring committee) chose Mr. Gossett as the number-one selection,” Eads said.
Allen, San Marcos CISD Trustee Kathy Hansen, and Trustees President David Chiu voted in favor of hiring Gossett. Trustees John Crowley and Margie Villalpando were absent.
Eads said the hiring committee was composed of Guerra, Goodnight Middle School Principal Steve Dow, Hernandez Elementary School Principal Rosemary Garza, San Marcos CISD Business Manager Debbie White, and San Marcos CISD Custodial Services Director Robert Gutierrez.
Both San Marcos CISD and Frenship ISD recently earned the highest out of five possible ratings granted by the state’s Financial Integrity Rating System.
Frenship ISD’s property tax rate is $1.50005 per $100 of taxable valuation. San Marcos CISD’s tax rate is $1.35 per $100 of taxable valuation. Both districts did not increase their tax rates this budget year. Thirty-one percent of Frenship ISD’s tax rate is devoted to debt repayment, compared to San Marcos CISD’s 23 percent debt allocation.
San Marcos CISD has about $25 million in reserves compared to Frenship ISD’s approximately $14 million. San Marcos CISD’s reserves are equivalent to 44 percent of its general fund revenues, while Frenship’s reserves are equivalent to 27 percent of its general fund revenues. San Marcos CISD’s budget calls for a $1.3 million general fund surplus, while Frenship’s budget includes a $762,614 general fund deficit.
According to Frenship ISD’s website, the district has seen a “consistent student growth rate of approximately 3-5 percent over the past five years with 5-7 percent growth” projected through 2014.
Enrollment at San Marcos CISD increased this year for the first time since the 2008-2009 school year. There are 1.4 percent more students this year than last year, based on preliminary figures.Email | Print