MERCEDES, Texas (KVEO) — School board members rejected an agenda item that would give the district’s superintendent full power to hire employees in an effort to fill a large number of staffing vacancies.
In a special meeting held by the Mercedes Independent School District (ISD) on Wednesday, board members discussed whether or not they should give Superintendent Carolyn Mendiola full authority over hiring new personnel for the district.
Mendiola acknowledged that the district currently has more than 30 staffing vacancies and leaders need to act quickly to hire the necessary people for these positions in a timely manner.
The superintendent also noted that the district currently only has 12 bus drivers and will need to hire many more to ensure everything runs smoothly when the school year begins.
However, the board of trustees chose to deny the motion and not allow Mendiola to exercise this power.
Those that voted against the item believe stopping Mendiola will prevent any nepotism from taking place within the district.
“Some ex-superintendents had all that authority and we had board members’ moms hired, brothers hired, and cousins hired,” said Oscar Hernandez, Mercedes ISD board member. “The law’s there to restrict and keep us fair and balanced.”
Others noted that it was not a personal attack against Mendiola to reject the motion, but a necessary move to ensure quality people are hired for the district.
“It’s not a reflection of Ms. Mendiola at all,” said Lucy Delgado, Mercedes ISD board member. “But we have to follow policies. We have to go with quality over quantity.”
Mendiola furthered her point and said that the summertime is the hardest part of the year to get school board members together to approve new employees. She noted that recent candidates they planned to hire for teaching positions had taken jobs at other districts.
“As we move to the end of the summer, it will continue to be very difficult to get quality staff,” said Mendiola. “I don’t want us to find ourselves in a bind come August 24 or 25. We’re gonna have substitutes in the classroom.”
Despite these efforts though, the board voted against the measure and Mendiola will not gain full authority over new hires into the district.