Mooring gets thumbs up from board

Published on Thursday, 20 February 2014 21:43 - Written by Emily Guevara eguevara@tylerpaper.com

Tyler ISD Superintendent Gary Mooring received a strong nod of support from the school board in his first evaluation. .

Although the board members said few words publicly in addressing his evaluation, the seven members on Thursday unanimously approved a raise and contract extension.

“We’re proud of him,” board President the Rev. Orenthia Mason said after the vote, shaking Mooring’s hand in the process.

Mooring’s contract will be extended to the 2015-16 school year and he will receive a 4 percent raise, bumping his annual salary up to $192,400.

The 4 percent raise is the same percentage raise provided for all TISD administrators this year and the minimum raise received by teaching staff.

The board conducted Mooring’s evaluation during a 6 p.m. closed session meeting, but voted on it and his contract during the open meeting.

Mooring, 63, came to the district as interim superintendent in August 2012, but was hired for the job on Jan. 14, 2013. His initial contract was for 2 ½ years with an annual salary of $185,000, an $800 monthly vehicle allowance and a $200 monthly electronics allowance. The allowances will remain the same on his updated contract, he said. It also will continue to have no longevity incentive or raises built into it.

Rev. Mason said the board set five goals for Mooring and evaluated him based on the progress he made toward those goals.

The goals included: academic achievement, community relationships and employee morale, strategic planning, hiring and retention of quality staff and school environment inclusive of discipline, she said.

She said board members were pleased with the way Mooring has built relationships with people in the community and improved the morale of district employees.

He has a cooperative spirit with the central office, campus personnel and the community, she said.

“We appreciate the working relationship that we have with our superintendent …” she said. “It was with joy … (and) in our best interests that we reward our superintendent for the great work he has done.”

Rev. Mason said there is still work to do including improving the academic achievement of students.

Mooring said he couldn’t help but be pleased with the vote of confidence from the school board.

He said he was able to meet many of the board’s goals because of the great staff in the district and the community’s support.

Once the district completes its strategic planning process, which it is slated to do soon, the board will consider that as it comes up with his goals for the next year, he said.

In other business, the board:

— Approved the guaranteed maximum prices for the new Moore and Boulter middle schools. Moore will cost about $27.2 million to build and Boulter will cost almost $26 million to build, according to district information. Both prices are within the 2013 bond budget.

— Heard from Cindy Grimes who spoke to oppose the changing of the Dixie Elementary School name.

The board received a recommendation to consider renaming Dixie and is seeking community feedback about the matter before moving forward with the request.

“I ask you please do not change the name of the Dixie school from the name of the wonderful community that it represents,” Ms. Grimes said after sharing about the Dixie community’s history and how its members supported her during a time of crisis.

— Discussed the creation of an Early College High School, which is a program located on or close to a college campus that allows the students “least likely to attend college an opportunity to earn a high school diploma and 60 college credit hours,” according to information provided by TISD. The district plans to present a proposal to the board next month that would seek permission to hire an Early College High School director to lead the planning for this program. Mooring said the district has about $75,000 in its budget that will be freed up when a contract for services expires and they could use the funds to pay for the new position. The district is eyeing the possibility of opening the Early College High School in partnership with Tyler Junior College in fall 2015.