While District 4 City Councilman Rey Saldaña is still on the council, he's got a new position that allows him to work in his background of education. He has been hired by KIPP San Antonio, a network of college preparatory public schools, as the chief of engagement. Saldaña said the position is a first for KIPP.
The job comes as a big relief for the councilman, who is engaged to be married and currently lives at home with his parents. He has taught at Trinity University and Palo Alto College, but the new job will help him support his new bride and himself.
The San Antonio City Council is often considered to be a full time job, but the 10 members and mayor don't get paid like it's full time, receiving $20 per meeting. Mayor Julián Castro gets an extra $3,000 each year.
Saldaña said the job fits right into his area of expertise, having graduated from Stanford with a degree in policy, organization and leadership studies. He is passionate about urban education, he said, and how to reach kids who come from different family situations.
"And how to really do whatever it takes to get kids who are coming from family life and circumstances much like my own growing up with parents who didn't speak the English language," he said. "How do we work with students of different populations and get them to think about their future and their education?"
KIPP San Antonio CEO Mark Larson said he thoroughly explored any potential conflicts of interest. He said he not only wanted to meet the standard of ethics, he wanted to exceed them, because he knows there are challenges of having a council person on staff. Both he and Saldaña talked to the city attorney's office extensively. KIPP is not a city delegate agency and does not receive money from the city.
It's yet to be seen if the job will give him enough personal resources to continue serving on the council.
"What I'll do is probably have to sleep less and stay up longer, so if I haven't completely burnt my self out I think this could be something that is sustainable, but more so I think what's going to keep me going is the excitement of working in education and in neighborhoods," said Saldaña.
In his new job, Saldaña will help bring together resources, donors, foundations, and possible partnerships. He starts Monday.