Update: SISD superintendent resigns, to get $629,308 as part of separation agreement

Local

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — As part of a separation agreement released Thursday, Socorro Independent School District Superintendent Jose Espinoza will receive a total of $629,308.

According to the separation agreement, that amount represents one year’s salary and benefits. The agreement also states that SISD will defend Espinoza from any current or future legal or administrative proceedings, except those that are criminal or involve official misconduct.

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Earlier:

Socorro Independent School District superintendent Jose Espinoza is resigning from his position.

The school board voted unanimously to buy out Espinoza’s contract, leaving trustees with a big decision. Soon, two new trustees will be sworn into the board and the district will enter the market looking for a replacement joining the El Paso Independent School District in a search to find a new executive.

For now, the district has not announced an interim superintendent.

SISD school board trustees began discussing Espinoza’s contract on Wednesday afternoon during a work session. They immediately retreated into closed door discussions when they began today’s meeting.

The board and Espinoza returned to the chambers a little more than an hour. District personnel in the room became and emotional and were visibly crying when they heard the news.

Espinoza said he wanted to be with family and go back to Houston. He wants to leave a clean slate for incoming trustees, he added.

The motion was read during the meeting where school board president Cynthia Najera was authorized to complete a separation agreement between Espinoza and the district.

Outgoing trustee Gary Gandara said Espinoza is resigning because he lost a majority on the school board during the May 1 elections and that a new majority would push him out.

The discussion has prompted some criticism from newly elected SISD candidates who say they should be a part of Wednesday’s discussions.

Wednesday’s announcement comes as Texas Education Agency begins an investigation into SISD, which district officials say is over an audit conducted two years ago. District officials say they turned over the results from the audit to the TEA and are cooperating in the investigation.

This story will be updated.

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