McAllen ISD superintendent’s contract includes $95,000 in benefits

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Newly appointed McAllen ISD superintendent René Gutiérrez starts his new position on Nov. 27 with a contract worth close to $400,000.

At a McAllen ISD school board meeting Monday night, the board of trustees voted 5-2 to offer a contract to Gutiérrez. Board President Debbie Crane Aliseda and trustee Elizabeth Kittleman voted against it.

The former Brownsville ISD and Edinburg CISD superintendent’s current contract, which The Monitor obtained through an open records request, is for three years and six months and has a base salary of $300,000 with about $95,000 in benefits, totaling $395,000.

In comparison, Gutiérrez had an annual salary of $354,128 as the Brownsville ISD superintendent when the board approved that amount at a meeting on June 28.

McAllen ISD superintendent René Gutiérrez’s name plate is shown in the board room at the McAllen Public Schools Administration building on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

The largest benefit amount is 20 extra vacation days at base rate for each full year totaling $26,548.67. The superintendent’s contract lists 10 leave days.

The second largest is the Teacher Retirement System Salary Supplement at $24,750. The contract states the district will supplement the superintendent’s annual salary by an amount equal to the superintendent’s portion of the monthly contribution to the Texas Teacher Retirement System required for the superintendent.

The third largest amount is the Supplemental Retirement contribution in which the district shall make a total contribution of $1,425 to one or more money market or other retirement accounts, designated in writing by the superintendent. It totals about $17,100.

The fourth is an automobile allowance totaling $12,000. The contract states the district will pay the superintendent $1,000 a month to defray the expenses of an automobile for travel in the school district. The payment is in lieu of mileage expense reimbursement for travel, gasoline, insurance or other associated charges related to all travel expenses within the Region 1 Education Service Center Area.

Newly appointed McAllen ISD superintendent René Gutiérrez adjusts his name plate before posing in the board room at the McAllen Public Schools Administration building on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

The fifth is for medical and dental insurance totaling $5,814.

The sixth is a technology allowance for a personal phone or data device totaling $3,600, or $300 per month.

The seventh is for professional meetings and memberships totaling $3,058. The district will pay memberships dues to organizations that maintain and improve the superintendent’s professional skills such as the American Association of School Administrators and the Texas Association of School Administrators.

The last benefit in the contract is for life insurance for $2,160. The contract states the district will provide the superintendent with a term life insurance policy in the amount of $500,000. The district will pay the premiums for the life insurance policy for the duration of the contract until resignation, termination or retirement of the superintendent.

The causes of termination of the contract listed are through mutual agreement, retirement or death, or dismissal for good cause.

The contract lists reasons for good cause such as failure to fulfill duties or responsibilities, incompetence or inefficiency in performance, failure to meet the district’s standard of professional conduct.