in Houston, Texas
Double-dipping Ysleta ISD superintendent also gets sweet housing deal
Monday, Jul 30, 2012, 04:29PM CST
By Curt Olson
cash

Taxpayers might soon think they need a better deal from Ysleta Independent School District Superintendent Michael Zolkoski.

Besides collecting nearly $250,000 — and a pension — Zolkoski gets a a taxpayer-owned home with rent that hasn’t risen since he arrived in 2009, as the El Paso Times chronicles today in rich detail. Additionally, Ysleta ISD maintenance workers do everything for Zolkoski from replacing the garbage disposal to sweeping the patio.

Zolkoski pays $1,300 a month in rent, for a total of $28,600 since September 2010. The district paid more than $20,000 in maintenance and remodeling over the same time, the newspaper determined through public records.

Comparable properties suggest the rent should be between $1,700 to $2,000 per month, the newspaper found in interviews with a real estate agent, a trustee who owns nearby rental properties, and a search on Zillow.com.

Zolkoski issued a statement but declined to answer questions from the El Paso Times on the Eastridge neighborhood home: “This is a win-win situation because the district has a guaranteed monthly rental income on this house, and it met our family needs better than any other home we looked at.”

The district bought the house in 2003 for Superintendent Hector Montenegro, who got the house rent-free, though his salary was tens of thousands of dollars lower than Zolkoski’s. The district tried and failed to sell the house when Montenegro left.

When Zolkoski arrived in 2009 he said he would pay for utilities and maintenance, which included the backyard pool. Ysleta ISD agreed to pay for “necessary” repairs, the Times reports, but the next year in a closed session sweetened the terms, agreeing to maintain the pool, keep up the yard and spray for pests, all without increasing the rent.

The Times has shed light recently on Zolkoski’s other benefits.

Zolkoski, who earns a salary of $243,600, is a double dipper, collecting a paycheck and a pension. Ysleta ISD has paid more than $88,000 to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas since 2009 for penalties owed TRS for employing someone who retired in 2006.

As sweet a deal as he’s getting, Zolkoski amazingly has considered walking. Zolkoski reportedly sought and failed to win the top job with Dallas ISD.

***
Contact Curt Olson at curt@texaswatchdog.org or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

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Photo of 'Cash Money' by flickr user athrasher, used via a Creative Commons license.

Comments
Mike
Wednesday, 01/02/2013 - 12:33AM

You almost have to wonder these days....are superintendents really in it for the children, teachers or are they just in it for the $$ and anything else they can take from tax payers! How sad!

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