Superintendent Rey Madrigal at the HISD board meeting on June 13, 2019.
Rey Madrigal will receive payment for accrued leave after the Harlandale ISD board accepted his resignation as superintendent. Credit: Stephanie Marquez / San Antonio Report

Harlandale Independent School District will pay its superintendent a little more than $58,000 as part of a separation agreement after voting to accept his resignation and allow him to retire. 

Rey Madrigal, who served as Harlandale’s superintendent for six years and spent more than 30 working for the district, will receive compensation for 60 days of accrued leave, said his attorney, Jay Brim, Tuesday morning. This amounted to “$58,000 and some change.” The deal gave Madrigal what any other retiring Harlandale employee would receive per local policy, Brim said.

The separation agreement was obtained by the Rivard Report Thursday.

Trustees voted on July 1 to terminate Madrigal, several days after Commissioner of Education Mike Morath told Harlandale its elected board would lose governing power and be replaced with an appointed board, and ordered the appointment of a new superintendent and the installation of a conservator, who can override board votes.

Madrigal was in the process of appealing his termination, but will cease that effort. His retirement was effective Monday night at 11:59 p.m. following a unanimous school board vote earlier that night.

Morath’s sanctions against Harlandale ISD followed an investigation that found issues with the district’s procurement practices, board dysfunction, and violations of both state law and local policy. Madrigal was implicated in these findings when the State found he made agreements with and payments to an engineering consulting firm without prior board approval.

The board is appealing the TEA’s findings, and will make its case to TEA officials in Austin on Wednesday.

“As [the board] got closer to that hearing [Wednesday] in Austin with the Commissioner, they began to see that it was really a whole lot better for them if they worked out something with [Madrigal] and let him step on into his next life and as they make whatever changes they need to satisfy the Commissioner of Education,” Brim said.

Following Monday night’s board vote, board President Ricardo Moreno stated that the decision to accept Madrigal’s resignation was a more logical decision for the district than contesting Madrigal’s appeal of his firing.

“It is more so, showing good stewardship of finances when you see the amount and when you see what’s been accumulated or what’s been presented, I think you’ll see it is fairly reasonable,” Moreno said. “I think it makes more sense for sure, more logical and more practical for us to do.”

Moreno did not return requests for comment Tuesday morning in time for publication.

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.