South San I.S.D. Expected to Get Wake Up Call

Updated: Thursday, February 20 2014, 10:58 PM CST
South San I.S.D. Expected to Get Wake Up Call story image
By: Christina Coleman

There may soon be some big changes in the South San Antonio Independent School District.

The school board voted unanimously to name the current interim superintendent, Dr. Abelardo Saavedra, as the lone finalist for the full time position.

As it turns out, he's already spotted some mistakes.

Dr. Abelardo Saavedra says South San's problems are in the business  office not in the classroom, "We lack processes, we lack procedures, we lack good practices and how we function on the business side of the district."

He says the problems could lead to issues monitoring how much funding the district has, "We don't closely monitor expenditures, the people responsible for those budgets don't always have access to the online reports."

Saavedra says he has a good relationship with the school board.
This is not his first time working with school leaders.
He has been a superintendent for 12 years.

He was the first Latino superintendent at Corpus Christi Independent School District and Houston Independent School District.

Houston is the largest school district in the state. He says his experience has helped him decide to ask for some policies to be changed for him to accept a long term contract.

His requests include the school board giving up its hiring and firing power, not allowing them to hire relatives and providing all future superintendents with five year contracts.

He says some of the principals will do the hiring if the police change goes into place, "I will have principals and hold them accountable to the performance of their schools but I will also empower them to hire their teachers and decide who they want for assistant principals and who they want under them."

Saavedra says he would like to provide more college preparation at the schools, "Advanced placement courses, dual placement courses, possibly development of an early college in the school district as well as career and technology."

He says there's not an extensive offering of dual credit courses in the school district right now.

However, if more teachers get certified to teach those classes he would like to offer them.

Saavedra says South San has great potential, "I think South San can be a great district, not just a good district, but a great district."

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