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November 22nd, 2011
SMCISD trustees hire new assistant super for $112,000

Jason Gossett. PHOTO via FRENSHIP ISD


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.”

Mike Abild. PHOTO via SMCISD

Gossett’s starting compensation at San Marcos CISD will be $112,000, said San Marcos CISD Superintendent Mark Eads. Eads said the salary was determined via an analysis of the market.

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.

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7 thoughts on “SMCISD trustees hire new assistant super for $112,000

  1. “Trustees John Crowley and Margie Villalpando were absent.”

    No need to show up for a vote on the #2 position in the district, I guess.

  2. Does anyone know where to find agendas/minutes for the board meetings these days? Either something has changed, or I’m just experiencing some weirdness, because I am coming up empty.

  3. See link below, expand “Board of Trustees” and then “Meeting Minutes”. “Agendas” seem to be empty, don’t know why. I usually get the agenda off the district calendar.

    It would be great if the email subscription system worked on this.

  4. Brad, Are y’all going to run a story on the protest that occurred before the school board meeting and the people with signs and t-shirts that were present objecting to the expenditure for moving the election date so that some people can see their names “at the top of the ballot.”? Best, LMC

  5. Crowley and Villalpando were probably trying to avoid the protest since they both support the expenditures for separate elections. What a waste of taxpayer and school district money. Hopefully the school board will change this decision and do what is right for the students, teachers, administrators and citizens of San Marcos.

  6. I’d just like to hear more of the concerns of the educators, alumni, students and staff that organized and attended the protest. Their voices are as important as what happened inside the meeting. And, as protests are concerned that was an AWESOME turnout!!!

    Moreover, there was a citizen comment period with some riveting speeches, three in particular. Hope those speeches get some news coverage.

    Best Regards, LMC

    ps one of the speakers calculated with last election stats it cost $300.00 per vote (divide number of voters by the $80,000 that they want to spend to “see their name at the top of the ballot.” Somehow i think voter mobilization will take that figure down to err maybe $100.00 per vote. Lets go for 1 dollar and unseat these incumbents!

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