Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
As a school year rife with debate over in-district charter partnerships and outside management organizations winds to a close, San Antonio Independent School District trustees voted unanimously Monday to extend Superintendent Pedro Martinez’s contract through the end of the 2023-2024 school year.
Martinez’s current contract was to expire Aug. 31, 2022.
In the last two decades, SAISD has been led by six different superintendents, trustee James Howard noted at the beginning of Monday’s meeting. If Martinez, who was was hired in 2015, stays through his contract, he would be among the longest-serving superintendents in Bexar County in recent history.
While it has often been noted that urban school superintendents tend to serve about three years, a May 2018 Broad Center report states that superintendents stay in these districts longer than initially thought: closer to six years.
At the conclusion of the 2018-19 school year, Martinez will have spent four years leading SAISD. The 2017-2022 contract stipulated Martinez would be paid $285,600.20. More recent data from TEA lists Martinez’s salary as $289,311, making the SAISD leader the third-highest paid school chief in the region.
Throughout the May school board election, Martinez was a frequent debating point. Incumbents Patti Radle and Christina Martinez stated their support for the superintendent, while challengers often expressed concerns over Martinez’s leadership.
“It is a statement of our confidence in Pedro – his leadership, his ability to bring other outstanding leadership to the District and to let them lead,” Radle said via text mesage following the vote.
Shelley Potter, president of the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel, characterized the extension as showing that the school board is out of touch with voters in the most recent May election.
“The contract extension does not align with the fact that 66 percent of the people who just voted in the school board election voted for a candidate not aligned with the superintendent,” Potter said in a text, referring to the percent of voters districtwide who cast ballots for candidates who did not align themselves with Martinez.
Potter described the evaluation of Martinez that preceded the vote to extend his contract as “perfunctory” because the board “never disagree[s] with” the superintendent.