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Chapter 3

This chapter reviews the Brownsville Independent School District's (BISD) human resources management in the following sections:

A. Organization and Management
B. Staffing Patterns, Salaries and Benefits
C. Recruitment and Hiring Activities
D. Staff Development and Employee Management


In 2000, the district stopped taking recruitment trips. The district found that most trips were not successful and did not feel it was appropriate to continue spending budget dollars on recruitment trips. Since stopping recruiting trips, the district has invested budgeted dollars into advertising on web sites as well as recruitment through local universities.

Exhibit 3-19 shows the web sites where BISD advertises vacant teaching positions.

Exhibit 3-19
BISD Recruitment Web Sites
Web Site Web Address
Teacher Wave
Region I
Texas Association of School Administrators
Troop to Teachers
School Staff Job
Texas Workforce Commission
American Association for Employment in Education
School Match
Source: Interview with Certified Personnel Administrator, September 2002.

Exhibit 3-20 presents the teacher turnover rates for BISD and its peer districts. The district's teacher turnover rate is the lowest of its peers and the region and the state. With a turnover rate of 10 percent, the district must fill 291 existing teaching positions in addition to any new positions created by enrollment. In October 2002, the district's employment Web site listed four teaching vacancies.

Exhibit 3-20
BISD and Peer Districts Teacher Turnover Rates
1996-97 through 2000-01
District 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-200 2000-01
Brownsville 9.3% 10.1% 10.6% 7.7% 10.0%
Corpus Christi 9.4% 9.3% 15.4% 11.7% 11.2%
Laredo 8.1% 11.0% 10.5% 15.6% 16.6%
North East 10.0% 10.2% 10.3% 11.8% 10.6%
Plano 8.2% 12.4% 13.5% 16.9% 15.5%
Ysleta 12.6% 13.7% 13.6% 11.5% 12.5%
Region 1 10.7% 12.1% 12.7% 13.4% 13.6%
State 12.6% 13.3% 15.5% 15.0% 16.0%
Source: TEA, AEIS, 1996-97 through 2000-01.

Exhibit 3-21 presents the BISD and peer average salaries for professional employees, by category of professional employee. On average, BISD pays its teachers less than its peers and the state. Campus administrators are the second lowest paid as compared to its peers. Average actual salaries for other professional employees are compatible with peer districts.

Exhibit 3-21
Professional Staff Average Salary Comparison
BISD, Region, State and Peer Districts
District Teachers Professional
Brownsville $38,990 $47,994 $59,682 $70,635
Corpus Christi $40,458 $48,057 $58,190 $64,479
Laredo $40,739 $47,015 $62,515 $79,102
North East $42,966 $52,210 $66,682 $68,159
Plano $41,155 $48,645 $66,364 $77,614
Ysleta $39,136 $44,388 $60,552 $64,694
Region 1 $38,795 $46,447 $57,774 $67,985
State $39,232 $41,959 $58,561 $69,849
Source: TEA, PEIMS, 2001-02.

Exhibit 3-22 presents BISD and peer district teacher salaries by level of experience. On average BISD pays its teachers less than most peers.

Exhibit 3-22
Teacher Salary Comparison
BISD, Region, State and Peer Districts
District Beginning 1-5
Over 20
Brownsville $30,921 $32,681 $36,807 $41,961 $48,303
Corpus Christi $30,150 $32,093 $34,842 $41,219 $49,715
Laredo $31,096 $32,278 $36,237 $43,501 $50,731
North East $34,589 $36,680 $39,642 $44,437 $53,515
Plano $33,819 $35,595 $38,240 $43,948 $54,249
Ysleta $27,908 $32,828 $35,926 $42,279 $50,305
Region 1 $28,775 $31,821 $36,424 $43,545 $48,961
State $30,940 $33,093 $36,169 $42,298 $49,185
Source: TEA, PEIMS, 2001-02.


The district does not consistently follow board approved hiring practices. In August 2002 the Internal Audit Department completed a special investigative audit of the district's hiring practices. The cover letter of the report states "management has circumvented procedures." Exhibit 3-23 presents a summary of the audit findings.

Exhibit 3-23
Summary of Internal Investigative Audit Report
BISD Hiring Practices
Position Issue
Area 1 Superintendent
  • The position was categorized as non-contractual and a term contract was issued.
  • Documentation was missing, incomplete or completed after hire date.
  • No documentation was found verifying employee met prerequisites.
Safety and Insurance Administrator
  • Employee does not meet educational qualifications.*
  • No documentation was provided showing employee has required experience.
  • Application contained inaccurate information regarding the grade point average that was not verified prior to hire.*
Chief Financial Officer
  • The position was categorized as non-contractual and a term contract was issued.
  • Employee does not meet educational qualifications.
  • Salary was increased without board approval.
  • Criminal background check was not conducted.
  • Documentation missing from file.
Administrator for Policy, Procedures and Information
  • Employee does not have required experience and certifications.
  • Employee reported for duty one day after interviews were held.
  • Application for employment dated six weeks after hire date.
  • Authority to report to work dated after hire date.
  • TB test not completed until four months after hire.
Purchasing Administrator
  • Discrepancies noted on years of experience, application indicates lower number of years than salary worksheet. Salary may be inflated.
  • No change of assignment form for reassignment to Purchasing from Payroll.
Former Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services
  • Employee did not have required experience or certificates for original assignment as area superintendent of Human Resources.
KBSD-TV Station Administrator
  • Salary worksheet and payroll records do not agree.
  • Board meeting agenda documentation does not indicate specific salary as required.
  • Verification of previous employment not done.
  • Documentation missing or incomplete.
Workman Comp Loss Control Specialist
  • Employee was hired as certified employee without paperwork then changed to classified employee status.
  • Position control did not show this position as available.
  • No documentation of education in file.
  • Work experience was not verified and references were not checked.
  • Criminal record check was completed six weeks after date of hire.
Source: BISD Internal Audit Report on Investigative Audit of Hiring Practices, August 2002.

The report also notes that relatives of a former area superintendent of Human Resources were hired without following the proper procedure and completing all necessary background checks. The current area superintendent of Human Resources said that most of the hiring practice violations were committed based on the instructions of the former area superintendent. This employee has since been put on leave by the district.

Several board policies address hiring practices. Exhibit 3-24 presents a summary of those practices that the internal auditors found were not followed.

Exhibit 3-24
Summary of BISD
Board Policies Regarding Hiring of District Personnel
Policy Name Policy
DAB (Local) Employment Objectives: Objective Criteria for Personnel Decisions The Board establishes the following objective criteria for decisions regarding the hiring, dismissal, reassignment, promotion and demotion of District personnel. These criteria are not rank-ordered and may be considered in whole or in part in making such decisions.
  1. Academic or technical preparation, supported by transcripts, preference to those with 2.5 GPA or above.
  2. Proper certification for grade level, subject, or assignment, including emergency permits and endorsements for specific subjects, programs, or positions.
  3. Experience.
  4. Recommendations and references.
  5. Evaluations.
  6. Suitability for the position and professional competence.
  7. The needs of the District.
  8. The Board prefers that all classified personnel who occupy positions requiring contact with school children, other District personnel, and the public as a whole, be bilingual (English/Spanish).
  9. The Board prefers that all employees have a minimum of a GED or high school diploma.
DBB (Local) Employment Requirements and Restrictions: Medical Examinations and Communicable Diseases TB TESTING REQUIREMENTS A tuberculosis examination shall be required of all new personnel at the start of employment and of all other personnel annually. A negative test result must be submitted to the personnel office prior to the employee's first workday. The examination must not be dated more than 120 days prior to the first workday. Employees who choose to have chest x-rays shall be required to present a negative test result every two years. Employees who do not submit a negative test result prior to the first workday shall not be allowed to report to work and shall be docked for each day they are absent.
DC(LEGAL) Employment Practices The Board shall establish a policy designating specific positions of employment, or categories of positions based on considerations such as length of service, to which continuing contracts or term contracts apply.
DC(LOCAL) Employment Practices: Non-Contractual The Board retains final authority for employment and dismissal, based on the Superintendent's recommendations, of noncontractual personnel whose positions are on the Special Assignment/Administrative Salary Schedule.
DC(LOCAL) Employment Practices: Applications All applicants for employment must complete an application furnished by the District. Applications shall be in writing and on forms provided by the personnel services office. The application shall be designed to elicit all pertinent information about the applicant. The following information should be included:
  1. A complete statement of all employment during the preceding five years, including specific dates for each position.
  2. Sufficient references to provide a clear assessment of the professional and personal qualifications of the applicant.
  3. The question "Have you ever been convicted of or pled guilty to a felony?" shall be answered by all applicants. It shall be the responsibility of the applicant to furnish accurate information, and any falsification of either information or credentials shall be cause for dismissal or refusal to employ. Information contained in applications shall be verified before a contract is issued. Information contained in applications for noncontractual positions shall be verified as soon as possible, but in any event not later than the end of the probationary period.
DC(LOCAL) Employment Practices: Criminal History Record The District shall obtain criminal history record information on a person the District intends to employ.
Source: BISD Board Policy.

The purpose of hiring policies and procedures is to ensure that the district is fairly and legally hiring and compensating employees. The system is designed to have several checks and balances. Human Resources is charged with ensuring that candidates meet all the requirements of the job description and verifying that information submitted on applications is accurate. The area superintendent of Human Resources is responsible for confirming that procedures are followed and paperwork is completed for each new hire. The board is charged with approving salaries to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent appropriately and within budget constraints. When the system is circumvented, these safeguards cannot work and the district is exposed to the types of complaints and litigation it was designed to prevent.

Recommendation 28:

Establish checks and balances to ensure that everyone follows board-approved hiring practices.

Human Resources Department employees should be retrained in district hiring procedures to ensure that they understand the importance of the process and their role in it. The area superintendent of Human Resources job evaluation should include a section regarding the department's adherence to hiring practices and the area superintendent may want to alter the job descriptions of department employees assigned hiring process duties to hold those positions responsible for deviations of hiring policies.

1. The area superintendent for Human Resources and Human Resources administrators train all department staff on hiring procedures and practices. March 2003
2. The area superintendent of Human Resources modifies the area superintendent position's job evaluation to include a section regarding adherence to hiring practices. March 2003
3. The area superintendent of Human Resources submits the modified job evaluation to the superintendent for approval. March 2003
4. The superintendent approves the modified job evaluation. March 2003
5. The area superintendent of Human Resources randomly reviews recently hired employee paperwork during the summer hiring rush. June-August 2003
6. The superintendent uses audit reports and other indicators to evaluate the area superintendent of Human Resources regarding adherence to hiring practices. Ongoing


This recommendation can be implemented with existing resources.


Employment reference checks are not routinely performed for non-teaching positions. The Certified Personnel Administrator said that she calls references on all new teachers. Local district policy states "The district shall obtain criminal history record information on a person the district intends to employ." This policy would include both teaching and non-teaching positions. Criminal history checks are generally performed for all personnel; however, the August 2002 Internal Audit Department's special report on hiring practices cites several instances where reference and/or criminal background checks did not occur.

Reference checks are important for all employees. Assuming the best indicator of future performance is past performance, reference checks can provide valuable information on the applicant's potential success. The supervisor responsible for choosing the candidate, or hiring supervisor, is in the best position to know what attributes will make candidates successful.

Another reason reference checks are important is the rise in negligent hiring/retention litigation. Negligent hiring is defined as the hiring of an employee who the employer knew or should have known, based on the employee's background, posed a risk to others in the workplace. Negligent retention is the retention of employees who engage in misconduct (wrongful acts) both during and after working hours. For example, a company that retains or hires an employee who has a history of physical abuse of coworkers may be found liable for not providing a safe work environment. Performing and documenting reference checks reduce an employer's exposure to negligent hiring/retention litigation.

Many types of district employees have contact with children, sometimes unsupervised by professional employees. Examples would include bus drivers and, occasionally, custodians. A personal and work reference check, on all district employees is important because it limits the district's liability and, most importantly, serves to protect the students. Furthermore, it is common for districts to establish reference check procedures and train supervisors on those procedures to ensure consistency in completing forms and conducting the actual reference checks.

Recommendation 29:

Implement procedures to ensure that reference checks are conducted on all new employees.

The hiring supervisor, or person making the candidate choice, should ideally perform reference checks. Current reference check forms should be used and kept in their personnel file. Principals should be provided the results of the reference checks for teachers coming to their campus.

1. The Certified and Classified Personnel administrators create new hire procedures on how to conduct reference checks and complete the reference check forms. March 2003
2. The Certified and Classified Personnel administrators conduct training classes for all hiring supervisors. April 2003
3. The area superintendent of Human Resources instructs all hiring supervisors to complete reference checks before employees are recommended to him or the board. April 2003
4. The Certified and Classified Personnel administrators establish procedures that require reference check forms to be attached to hiring documents before approving new employees. April 2003


Since the training will be provided internally, this recommendation can be implemented with existing resources.