An anonymous letter was sent out to some members of the Fabens community yesterday that outlined criticism of his salary.
Its become an all too familiar criticism from the tax payers about the amount of money paid to an administrator in a political subdivision, much like El Paso's city council and the embattled city manager.
It is unclear how many mailboxes ended up with the letter but it indicates that Fabens ISD Superintendent Eldephonso "Pancho" Garcia's salary and compensation is almost $200,000. If you factor in his medical benefits it likely very easily exceeds $200k.
The Fabens ISD voted to give him a modest 2% raise which probably wouldn't bother residents of the community if it weren't for the fact that there are rumors around town that Fabens ISD is shuttering its Early College program and shutting several other programs due to lack of funding.
Salaries of other administrators are also shown to give context to how much money Fabens ISD pays their superintendent.
According to the data in the letter, which is at least two years old, Garcia is the highest paid administrators in the area and his salary is the highest on a cost per student basis.
To be fair to the Fabens ISD, administrators and specialized positions within school districts often require a salary that is a little higher as an incentive to get people to apply for the superintendent position.
Often an administrator does not live in the immediate area and live in El Paso so in order to draw them to rural communities they are often given extra compensation in order the district to be able to be competitive.
Garcia is a former interim Superintendent that stuck around and was eventually hired as the superintendent by the school board members.
Superintendents salary and compensation are set by the school board members of the district. The letter doesn't touch upon any specific performance measures of Superintendent Garcia, which are typically included in performance evaluations to determine whether or not the superintendent has met or exceed established goals.
But its clear that, if accurate, the data shows that Garcia earns much more than his local peers while often having far less students to oversee.
Superintendents don't set their own salary and I don't know a single person that isn't going to take a raise if its offered to them so the school board members are the ones that the community should hold accountable if they feel the salary is unwarranted or excessive.
And in a small town like Fabens the salary does seem excessive without any frame of reference to accomplishments (if any). The super's wage far exceeds the average salary of people in Fabens, although one could argue that his education and experience far exceeds that of the average person in Fabens and that the market determines his value.
However having such a large salary and then piling on a raise on top of the salary seems tone-deaf to not only the community but to the financial state of the school district. And $6000 in mileage? You're telling me that Fabens ISD pays the guy to drive to his own job for which he receives a 6 figure salary to begin with?
And that number breaks down to more than $20 per day for gas. Depending on the size of car its basically saying the tax payers of Fabens ISD are paying for the super to essentially have a brand new tank of gas every day?
The bottom line is that parents don't like to see money added to a superintendents salary that doesn't even live in Fabens while they see reductions in funding to programs.
One final note about the letter, its from an anonymous source. Depending on how many mail boxes it was sent to, it could have been a pretty expensive little project based on postage alone. And letters like this pop up from time to time.