Edinburg schools looking at pay raises

EDINBURG — The Edinburg school district held a workshop discussing the budget, proposed raises, and the recently passed House Bill 3’s impact on public education Thursday evening.

The proposed pay raises for teachers is $1,800 or 3.25% with no experience, $2,400 or 4.8% for one to five years of experience, and $3,000 or 6% for those with six years of experience and more.

Teachers with no experience make up less than 1% of the district, those with one to five years of experience about 15%, and the largest pool are teachers with six years or more who make up about 85% of the teacher population.

Rebecca Morrison, assistant superintendent for finance and operations, presented the impact of HB3 and proposed compensation that is in compliance with the law.

Hourly workers would also receive an increase of $1 an hour, or a range from 3.5% to 8%, as discussed in the presentation. Over half, or 56% of these hourly workers would receive an 8% increase, Morrison said.

Starting pay will be $14.25 an hour for bus drivers, she said.

The district has about 340 administrators who would receive 3.5% from the midpoint that is not to exceed the teacher daily rate increase, she said. All employees would receive a $500 mid-year supplement in this plan.

Administration is “firmly recommending” this compensation for employees, she said.

Morrison said that experienced teachers make up a large portion of the district’s population, and shows the district’s market are those with over six years experience.

Other school districts have already approved of their budget and salary increases. McAllen, Mission, Sharyland and Monte Alto are among these school districts finalizing pay compensation.

The budget cycle for the Edinburg school district starts on Sept. 1 while other school districts began theirs on July 1, she said. Some numbers and other information are not entirely firm yet, Morrison said.

Audience members applauded the presentation, upon hearing the proposed increases for teachers, support staff and other positions.

This is all in accordance with HB3, a recently passed measure that reformed school finances, provided property tax relief and mandated increased compensation for school employees.

The law mandates 30% of funds that come from the state be used for pay raises for full-time employees, and 75% of this pool must go toward teachers, nurses, counselors and librarians.

The remaining 25% must go toward non-administrative staff members. Basic allotment increased from $5,140 to $6,160, according to the Texas Education Agency.

With salaries making up about 80% of the budget, this needs to be addressed before moving to future workshops, Morrison said.

Marsha Gonzalez, ECISD American Federation of Teachers president, viewed proposed raises positively and thanked administration for the proposed increases. She said she was hoping teachers receive a 5% raise across the board for all employees, and had been advocating for it through a “Give Me Five” campaign. However the proposed 6% raise for 85% of the teacher population exceeded that amount.

“More or less, we received what we were campaigning for so I think it was quite successful, I think the employees are going to be happy,” she said.

Board president Robert Peña said the board will make this decision by Sept 1. He said he hopes the board can approve of the final budget in August, after future workshops address other district needs, such as facilities.

“We like to take care of our own, and I believe we’re doing so,” Peña said.

The Board of Trustees has yet to approve the proposed plan to compensate employees, which will be decided in a future board meeting.