Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Jason Manuel Wants New Contract from GMSD Board

At the April 20 called GMSD Board meeting approving the new school construction contract, Board Chair Betsy Landers announced at the end of the meeting that, at his request, Superintendent Manuel's contract is to be reviewed at the GMSD Board Meeting on June 18.

The entire April 20 meeting is linked below. If you want to skip the discussion about the school construction contract, you may listen only to Superintendent Manuel's pitch for the Board to review his contract by clicking this link which starts at 11:14. (text below).


Superintendent Manuel:   

I am requesting us to look at my contract again. I want to look at the length of my contract and the terms so I was also at a conference this past week where we were discussing the penalty that is in my contract and (unintelligible) said that that is not a legal component of my contract, so part of this is I want to look at my contract again.  

Here is a link to his current contract:  

The legal component that he is referring to is likely Section 19(B) of the above link, stating that if he decides to leave early, he will pay $15,000 for a search for a new superintendent. Apparently someone told him that is illegal.

As you can see, his current contract does not expire until June 30, 2020. If he wants to look at the length of his contract, presumably he wants this contract extended, even though the current contract is not up for two full years.  

The current contract was voted on two years ago. Although the vote was unanimous approving the contract, some Board members were on record stating that they preferred the contract to be shorter (video link here). Ironically, it is the $15,000 penalty for breaking the contract that is one of the reasons that the Superintendent gave for his deserving the four year contract (video link here).

Is this the best time for the superintendent to be attempting to extend his contract? Houston High School is currently embroiled in two scandals, discussed in When Truth is Stranger than Fiction-- GMSD Scandals 101  and Former Houston High Principal Fails to Report Allegations Against Choir Director, and there are numerous outstanding questions about the handling of the scandals. Tomorrow I will address some of the questions that have been raised by the scandals.


  1. It seems like you're speculating quite a lot about Manuel's contract and his intentions. Nothing was said in the clip you posted about Manuel wanting to extend his contract. All that was said was that some of the penalties in the contract may not be legal. So, it would probably be best for both parties that the entire contract be legal. You're taking tremendous liberties and risking being very wrong by assuming intentions about extending the contract, when the only thing we know is that there could be some illegal portions of the contract, which could put GMSD at financial risk.

    From the short bit I've read your blog, it looks like you want to be a community watchdog, but you tend to make wild assumptions, then present them as fact. You would do well to either stick to the facts or change the name and stated purpose of your blog to reflect that these are only your personal speculations and have no basis in fact. In the days of keyboard warrorism and sound bite culture, people may take your wild guesses as fact, when the actual facts are nowhere close to what you've written.

    1. See my reply below. Also please CAREFULLY reread the blog, and the quote from Mr. Manuel and watch the video. Not only did he say he wanted the length of his contract looked at, he is also likely mistaken about the legality of the clause. That clause would be upheld in court as long as it was a reasonable amount and that the cost of looking for a new superintendent would be that amount. Even if it were found to be an excessive amount (which, it does not seem excessive to me), the contract has another clause in it that says if any part of the contract is found to be not enforceable, it will not affect the enforceability of the other parts of the contract. So, there is no real reason in any case to revisit the contract. The so-called "illegal" clause is just a pretext. However, with all that has happened at the school system lately, hopefully he lets this idea die right now. Pauline

  2. Since I quoted Mr. Manuel exactly, you are welcome to draw your own conclusions to what he said. He stated he wants to look at the "length" of his contract. The length now is for two more years. Do you believe he wants to shorten it? I find that an illogical conclusion, but you are welcome to assert that if you want. I conclude that he wants to lengthen it, or at least he did at the time he made this statement. Again, I do not feel that I have misrepresented what he stated, in any way. And to absolutely make sure I did not, I included the full quote. My exact wording was, "If he wants to look at the length of the contract, presumably he wants to lengthen it." This is an obvious presumption. And "presumably" is not a fact. Hopefully, subsequent events have caused him to rethink this, as I feel it would be a bad move to lengthen his contract at this time. In other words, I hope you are right, at this point.