Acting DISD superintendent Hinojosa talks about plans

By Lori Brown

Former Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa is back on the job.

Hinojosa spent six years with the district and is stepping in as interim superintendent for Mike Miles, who had actually replaced Hinojosa previously.

Hinojosa said he's willing to stay on the job as long as the board wants him to be and as long as he still has the energy.

Right now, he thinks he has it.

“Do you plan to keep things in place, or shake things up?” asked FOX 4’s Lori Brown.

“My job as an interim is to keep things in place,” said Hinojosa.

Hinojosa, a Dallas ISD graduate, former teacher and administrator first got the top job in May 2005. One decade later, his hair is grayer, but the Dallas native's plan for his first week is the same.

Hinojosa says with age comes wisdom, and he says he has learned lessons since 2005.

“We had a budget blow up that was my responsibility, that we fixed, and now is in much better shape,” said Hinojosa.

In 2008, Hinojosa announced that Dallas ISD had an estimated $64 million budget shortfall -- 375 teachers and 40 assistant principals and counselors were laid off.

It's something many teachers have not forgotten.

“It was inexcusable, it put our district back as far as…the class sizes had to be increased,” said Rena Honea, President of Alliance AFT. “It was a very sad and chaotic time.”

But Honea points out that the district still managed to make academic progress under Hinojosa's leadership. She said many teachers are hopeful now that he's back -- at least for a little while.

“They are looking for a calmness back in the classroom and on the campuses, more than anything,” said Honea. “They are hopeful and really pushing for the fear and intimidation to be relieved at the campuses, that the campus leaders will be instructed, that is unacceptable."

Honea believes there should be a comprehensive and transparent search that seeks input from teachers and taxpayers before Hinojosa is considered for the job.

It's a position that he is open to pursuing.

“Could you be the next fulltime superintendent?” asked FOX 4’s Lori Brown.

“Once again, that's very premature,” said Hinojosa. “That's the board's decision, but I'm not going to say no."   

With six years on the job between 2005 and 2011, Hinojosa's tenure was one of the longest in recent years at DISD.

He is now making $25,000 a month, which would add up to $300,000 a year -- $28,000 less than he was making before.

On top of that, he is still receiving his Texas retirements benefits, which add up to $200,000 a year.