The “lone finalist” selected to take over as Arlington Independent School District’s new superintendent has backed out at the last minute and instead signed a new five-year contract with her current district, leaving Arlington with just a few months to find another candidate.

Arlington school board trustees named Michelle Cavazos as their preferred candidate for superintendent on May 4.

Board President Melody Fowler described Cavazos as “steadfast.”

Fowler said trustees learned Monday night that Cavazos had decided to stay at her current superintendent job in Gregory-Portland ISD, a district located near Corpus Christi with about 5,000 students—about one-tenth the number of students enrolled in Arlington ISD.

State law requires a 21-day waiting period following the announcement of a district’s lone finalist before they are hired. That’s the only time a community has to vet a candidate.

It also allows time for the candidate to change their mind or negotiate a better deal in their current jobs. According to the latest data from the Texas Education Agency, Gregory-Portland ISD was paying Cavazos a base superintendent salary of $239,000.

Arlington ISD’s current superintendent, Marcelo Cavazos (no relation), announced his resignation in January, just weeks after he signed a new five-year, $376,000 contract and qualified for a 13 percent bonus for the remainder of his tenure.

Fowler said Cavazos will “remain at the helm until his retirement date” of August 31.

She said the board will meet Wednesday to “discuss our next steps.”

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.