Women claim gender discrimination at BISD

With roughly 7,700 employees, the Brownsville Independent School District is the largest employer in the city.

Now, a group of 23 administrators and high ranking employees claim they aren't being treated nor paid fairly by the district.

Attorney Judith Sadler is demanding answers to grievances filed claiming gender discrimination when it comes to pay and career advancement

"There is a system that does not value women, they do not value their skills, the dedication, the resources that women bring to these jobs," Sadler said.

Sadler did not give details or names, but did tell Action 4 News that her clients have been passed-up for positions that have been given to a less-qualified men and have not received pay increases, as have theirmale counterparts, over several years.

Sadler claims requests for grievance hearings have lingered nearly a year.

On May 6, she made a bold move bringing-up the issues to school members during a board meeting.

In the BISD meetings recording Sadler attempts to bring up the issue, but the attorney cuts her off by saying personnel issues can TMt be discussed in public.

When Sadler tries to explain that the issue has gone unresolved for too long, BISD School Board President Otis Powers asks her to schedule a meeting, since according to him, the trustees did not know about the issue.

We tracked down board member Caty Presas-Garcia.

She said it was the first time she TMd heard about the grievances, and added she is "devastated" that she found out at a board meeting.

"One either we TMre not being respected as leaders that we have to be aware of what's going on, or two, administration is not doing their job," Presas-Garcia said.

After administrators make recommendations, the school board has the final say in salary increase or hiring for certain positions.

Presas-Garcia said some school board members often do object to certain recommendations, but it comes down to a majority vote. She even argues the disparities aren't just between females and males.

"I TMve seen it to where there's been times where certain males get paid more than another male, being that this male is in charge of 3 department and this male is only in charge of 1 department," Presas-Garcia said.

BISD is the largest school district south of San Antonio, and has a half-billion-dollar budget - Sadler said this issue is not about lack of money.

If there is no money to pay anyone these raises, fine, there's no money, Sadler said. But it is not proper to discriminate and pay a male more money.