Dallas school board trustees hired Michael Hinojosa as superintendent Tuesday night. This is his second time in the top spot. Hinojosa led the district for six years, leaving in 2011.
Hinojosa will make $335,000 a year under a contract that runs through December 2017. He’s giving up some benefits like health insurance and a car allowance. He does, however, plan to continue collecting a $200,000 pension from the Teacher Retirement System.
“That’s my earned benefit,” Hinojosa told reporters after the board voted 6-1 in favor of hiring him. “It’s not related to the job. The skill, effort and responsibility for this position is totally separate, and that’s something that an old guy has earned over a long period of time.”
Hinojosa was named interim superintendent in June, shortly after Mike Miles ended a tenure marked by reforms and controversy. Miles was hired after Hinojosa left Dallas for Cobb County, Georgia. He says he’s excited about being back, but don’t expect any more major reforms.
“There are a lot of things that we’re doing well and I think we just need to tweak some things that haven’t been working well,” Hinojosa said. “I think the morale has improved. That was one of the things I told the board I would work on right away, but there aren’t going to be any major changes. It’s now time to implement.”
Trustee Joyce Foreman was the only one to vote against hiring Hinojosa because, she said, she wanted the board to go through the formal search process.
“Working with soon-to-be superintendent Hinojosa has been a pleasure compared to what I experienced when I came on the board,” she said. “But I still have concerns about the way this process took place.”
Trustee Edwin Flores, who just made a return of his own, said Hinojosa is the ideal person to lead the district right now.
“He’s from here, grew up here, went to school here, taught here, was the superintendent here,” Flores said. “I mean, who knows our community better? Who knows our schools and our facilities and the other trustees and the administration and the structure and the city and the philanthropists and the business leaders and the religious leaders? Who knows them? He knows them.”
At this moment, at least, familiarity breeds contentment.