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Paul Jones takes over as the new Paris Independent School District superintendent on March 19, and he’s eager to get to work.
“Paris has a tradition of being a big family. It’s the same here at Saltillo; I think I’m just going to be moving to a bigger family,” he said. “The district has a great reputation with its teachers and administrators. I’m looking forward to that and to being part of the community.”
According to Texas law, after a candidate is named the lone finalist, there is a 21-day waiting period before a contract can be offered. This gives both sides a chance to work out contract negotiations, check each other out and to back out of negotiations if necessary.
The PISD school board has scheduled a special meeting March 18 to officially offer Jones a contract. A public reception is set for 5:30 p.m. that day at the Paris High School library.
Jones comes to Paris from Saltillo ISD, a 1A school district between Sulphur Springs and Mount Vernon. He characterized SISD as a rural school district with a high Hispanic population and about 70 percent of the students on free and reduced lunch. He has spent 17 years there, including 11 as superintendent.
“I grew up in Greenville. I know Paris and Paris’ reputation,” he said. “Paris is the same kind of close-knit community.
It’s values are small-town America. That’s what I want to be a part of and I want my family to be a part of.”
His son, a senior, and daughter, a freshman, will finish the year at Saltillo, with the daughter starting Paris High School next year. His wife is an English teacher.
Starting in March gives Jones a chance to see what’s worked so far, what needs work and get to know the district’s staff before next year begins.
He said his record of academic and fiscal success in Saltillo speaks for itself — no unbalanced budgets, no debt and “we’ve been exemplary or recognized 15 of those 17 years.”
The state’s school finance system has been one of Paris’ biggest concerns lately. PISD was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit that recently resulted in the system being declared unconstitutional.
“Right now I think every school district in the state is in the same boat,” Jones said. “We’ve all had to tighten our belts. We’re in the same situation as all the other schools in the states. If you look at how inequitable the school funding system is, Paris probably wouldn’t have a finance problem if they were getting equal funding to other schools its size.”