Alamo Colleges District trustees have added a new incentive plan to Chancellor Bruce Leslie’s contract, enabling him to earn a bonus of up to $45,000 next year if the community college district achieves five specific goals.

The contract also will increase Leslie’s base salary by 3 percent in January, bringing it to $415,217. After an annual review, trustees approved it unanimously last month, with Marcelo Casillas absent.

Board Chairwoman Yvonne Katz praised Leslie for advancing the Alamo Institutes degree pathways and a management method called the “4 Disciplines of Execution” throughout the district.

“We’re just very, very fortunate in San Antonio to have Dr. Leslie heading up our Alamo Colleges District,” Katz said. “He’s well-regarded, well-respected in Texas and San Antonio, and nationally and internationally.”

The goals in Leslie’s new contract include getting 80 percent of students to pick an Alamo Institute degree path before they complete 30 hours of coursework, based on the district’s new advising model. Leslie must also complete transfer advising guides by March with five local universities; develop and distribute a new communications plan; begin a two-year assessment and implementation process for Alamo Colleges Online; and lead the district to grant degrees or certificates to 13,500 students.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s strategic plan calls for an 84 percent increase in statewide college completion rates from 2014 to 2030. For its share of that goal, the district would have to confer at least 13,153 degrees and certificates in 2030.

But improved student advising already has helped its completion rates rise quickly, administrators say, with about 12,000 students earning degrees or certificates last year. The progress convinced trustees to charge Leslie with exceeding the 2030 goal next year, Katz said.

Leslie’s incentive bonus will be prorated based on how much of the five criteria he achieves. He must be at least halfway toward meeting all five goals next summer to earn a bonus at all, Katz said. The board will determine the amount of the bonus in July and it will be paid by Aug. 31, according to the contract.

Katz said she expects Leslie’s contract will contain a new incentive plan every year. Trustees started it this year to follow similar practices in the private sector and at other colleges and universities, Katz said.

Leslie’s automobile allowance remains at $1,500 per month and his cellphone, computer and technological services allowance is steady at $166 per month under the new contract.

Leslie has been a controversial figure in his 11 years at the helm of the Alamo Colleges District. Faculty have repeatedly accused him of disregarding their input and the autonomy of each of the five community colleges — four of which are independently accredited as the fifth, Northeast Lakeview, awaits its own accreditation decision in December.

The accreditation agency has warned three of the Alamo Colleges about a lack of institutional autonomy, saying the district overstepped its bounds in setting some curriculum and governance policies. Trustees earlier this year modified the policies in response.

The chancellor has also been praised for initiatives that are leading a record number of students to earn degrees and certificates each year. Voters in the spring approved a $450 million bond for facilities to keep up with the district’s growth.

Leslie’s contract ends Aug. 31, 2020.

amalik@express-news.net