During a special meeting on Wednesday and without public input, Houston ISD Board of Trustees voted 4-3 to award Superintendent Terry Grier a “satisfactory” evaluation accompanied with $98,000 in bonuses atop his roughly $300,000 base salary.

It’s all “for the kids,” the educrats grumble.

A recap of facts is worth revisiting. Grier’s tenure has been tumultuous at best. In September, he announced his resignation just days after the revelation that the district’s bond program was short $211 million. Grier claimed the “shortfall” was due to rising construction costs and inflation, but an internal audit at the behest of Trustee Juliet Stipeche revealed that Grier’s claims were false.

The audit revealed that, “inflation itself is not the key driver in the request for additional [bond] funds.” Grier’s staff claimed an inflation rate of 38.75% while the audit identified the average inflation rate of 8%.

Also, under Grier’s guidance, 58 of the district’s 268 schools were placed in the TEA’s “needs improvement” category just last year, and it was reported as late as 2014 that some of the district’s graduating seniors couldn’t read. Apparently, literacy is no longer a requirement to graduate in HISD. It draws into question the entire notion that “graduation rates” are a meaningful achievement indicator.

Since the bond debacle, HISD employees and vendors have spoken out saying they alerted district officials of ongoing waste and abuse, but Grier made no actionable effort to hold anyone accountable. In fact, staff under his leadership willfully ignored such concerns without facing any consequence.

Perhaps they’ll also receive bonuses?

Along with a “performance” bonus he will receive his generous car and technology allowance, other expense reimbursements, and unused leave time, bringing his income this year to over $500,000.

Local taxpayers are learning more about the extent to which Grier shirked his responsibilities as the head of Texas’ largest school district. Trustees, other the other hand, felt his failures merited a financial windfall.

It raises the question, if taxpayers were given the opportunity to evaluate Grier, what grade would they give?

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.


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