SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez speaks to the future plans of YWLA.
SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez, who has led the district since May 2015, is receiving a raise. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

The San Antonio Independent School District board voted to increase Superintendent Pedro Martinez’s compensation by 5 percent, bringing his base salary to just over $315,000. Martinez enters his fifth year as SAISD’s superintendent this fall.

The SAISD superintendent received a 2 percent pay increase in 2017 when the board approved across-the-board pay increases for district staff, and he received a 3 percent increase last month when the board voted to increase all staff’s pay by at least 3 percent.

Board President Patti Radle said Martinez didn’t ask for a raise, but district trustees wanted to ensure he was paid at a comparable level to similar districts.

“There’s always that chance because people know he’s done so well, they might like to invite him to go elsewhere, and we don’t want that to happen,” Radle said. “From his conversations with us, he’s not tempted. He feels a real commitment to the work we’re doing here. But because of that, it doesn’t give us an excuse not to pay comparatively well.”

Prior to Martinez’s hiring, turnover in the superintendent’s office was common. In the last two decades, the district has been led by six different superintendents.

In May, trustees voted to extend Martinez’s contract to the end of the 2023-24 school year. It previously was set to expire on Aug. 31, 2022.

With his new salary set at $315,053.93, Martinez becomes Bexar County’s second highest-paid superintendent behind Northside ISD Superintendent Brian Woods, who last year was paid $333,128, according to 2018-19 Texas Education Agency data.

Northside ISD enrolls more than 100,000 students. SAISD has an enrollment of under 50,000 students.

Shelley Potter, president of the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel, voiced concern over the raise, calling it “tone deaf” after trustees just voted to hand out 3 percent raises for all other staff.

“I view it as an insult to every employee in the district who worked their hearts out last year,” said Potter, who led negotiations with Martinez seeking a raise for teachers and school staff between 6 percent and 8 percent.

“All the discussion during the time that the salary increases were being done for the rest of the employees, the discussion was all about how there is not enough money, not enough money, not enough money. … I believe you never take a salary increase that is a larger percent than the people who are the employees.”

Martinez’s total salary increase from the last two months amounts to more than $23,000.

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Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.