The El Paso Independent School District administration building. (Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters)

El Paso Independent School District’s interim superintendent will be paid more than $300,000 annually under a contract unanimously approved by the school board this week.

Vince Sheffield

The board appointed Vince Sheffield interim superintendent Nov. 5, following the resignation of former Superintendent Juan Cabrera, who is on paid leave through Feb. 1. The board approved a $559,000 settlement with Cabrera to end his contract

Sheffield will be paid a supplemental salary of $84,000 annually, on top of his current $227,000 salary as deputy superintendent of administration and academics, according to the contract EPISD released Thursday to El Paso Matters via an open records request. He will remain in that role while serving as interim superintendent.

Sheffield also receives a $100 monthly cell phone stipend and $800 monthly travel allowance, according to salary documents EPISD released.

He has been with the district for nearly 30 years and appears to be the first Black superintendent in EPISD’s more than 130-year history. He is one of nearly three dozen Black superintendents in the state, according to the Texas Alliance of Black School Educators.

Cabrera was initially paid a base salary of $285,000 when he was hired in September 2013. In 2017, the school board boosted his base salary to $348,827. 

On top of that, Cabrera received $34,200 annually in a car, mobile phone and home office allowance in addition to $30,000 annually “for incidental employee benefits.” Those and disability, life insurance and annuity payments brought his annual salary to nearly $500,000. 

Sheffield’s interim superintendent contract includes no mention of consulting, a controversial provision the board added to Cabrera’s contract in 2017. Cabrera was allowed to serve as an unpaid or paid consultant as long as that work didn’t interfere with his superintendent duties.

Cabrera did consulting work for former EPISD board President Dori Fenenbock’s online school. They were sued in September in California over allegations they defrauded the school’s investors of $5 million.

Sheffield’s contract notes he “will be eligible to apply for and be considered by the board” for the superintendent position “subject to the qualifications, experience and requirements the Board determines to be necessary or advisable for the hiring of a permanent superintendent.”

School board members Tuesday made no mention of the timeline for the superintendent search.

Molly Smith has been a reporter for the El Paso Times and The (McAllen) Monitor. She’s covered education, criminal justice and local government. A Seattle native, she’s lived in Texas since 2014.