BSISD trustees deliver lukewarm evaluation of Saldivar

Big Spring Independent School District trustees have given Superintendent Steven Saldivar less than a ringing vote of confidence.Following a lengthy evaluation session behind closed doors Thursday, trustees announced they had given Saldivar a job rating of “proficient” and declined to extend his salary beyond the 2013-2014 school year.The moves were unusual in two areas — a “proficient” rating falls in the middle range of evaluations the board could have levied; and school boards traditionally add at least one year to a superintendent's contract at the end of such evaluations.The absence of such endorsements might mean that Saldivar's future with the district is cloudy. Then again, it might not — trustees declined comment following Thursday night's school board session.Saldivar said this morning he accepted the board's evaluation.“Back in May, I provided the board with (data) that gave the board some salient information on what I had done during the year … so that their evaluation wouldn't be so subjective,” Saldivar said. “At the end of the day, they got together and put together their evaluation — that's their job and I certainly accept that.”Also Thursday, the board took the first of several promised steps aimed at stopping the exodus of employees to higher-paying private sector jobs.Faced with a hiring boom in the private sector — particularly in oilfield related businesses — which is drawing employees away from the school district, trustees approved an across-the-board $2.20 an hour raise for maintenance and custodial workers.Pay for auxiliary and paraprofessional personnel — which covers areas such as custodial, cafeteria and teacher aides — has traditionally lagged behind salaries offered by the private sector, but the problem has become even more pronounced since the recent oil field hiring boom.The result, BSISD Business Manager Debbie Green told trustees, is that the district has had extreme difficulty hiring and retaining employees.“Starting pay for (auxiliary) employees is $8.30 an hour,” she said. “And we're not getting any takers with that.”The school district cannot match oilfield salaries, but trustees decided to at least make BSISD's pay structure a little more competitive.“We need to take care of our employees,” Trustee Phil Furqueron said.The pay hike for maintenance and custodial workers is only a start — officials said pay raises for cafeteria workers, teacher aides and other support staff will be instituted with the start of the new school year in late August.