HCISD fixes discrepencies with Special Ed stipends

By Bailey Buckingham

After equity discrepancies regarding special education (SPED) departmental stipends were discovered, Hays CISD Board of Trustees took action to alleviate the issue June 27. 

By a 5-1 vote, the board added current SPED stipends to teacher base pay, while also freezing teacher pay until the amount is aligned with base pay. District 5 board trustee Esperanza Orosco cast the only dissenting vote.

According to documents, the administration identified significant equity discrepancies regarding the issuing of and amounts paid for departmental stipends within the special education department not aligned to the current compensation plan.

The board had four options recommended by administration to correct the identified inequity. One of those options was to add current stipends to base pay and freeze pay until increase is aligned to base pay 

Other options that were not selected included allowing those receiving stipends to continue receiving them as long as they remain in the same position/capacity, or giving one year’s notice to impacted employees that stipends would be discontinued effective 2017-2018.  

Additional options was an interim stipend for the 2016-2017 school year only, adjusting all stipends to the same amount to be determined by the board, or discontinuing or adjusting stipends for the 2017-2018 school year.

During the public forum section of the meeting, two individuals spoke while colleagues within the special education department stood behind them in unity. 

Both speakers voiced their frustration about the uncertainty regarding their salaries and implored the board not to vote in a way that would decrease any person’s pay. 

“I received 9 emails from SPED teachers and I personally, as a Board of Trustee, would like to apologize,” Board Vice President Sandra Bryant said. “One of the emails I received said they thought their salary was already at market value, and I as a trustee thought they were as well, and I take full responsibility for that.” 

Board secretary Teresa Tobias agreed with Bryant and didn’t want any SPED teachers to be penalized for a mistake made in the Human Resources department. 

“My goal is that no teacher takes home any less than what they’re currently receiving,” Board president Holly Raymond said.  

District 2 board trustee Willie Tenorio said he is concerned that if the board does not freeze the pay for the people who are already making way more than the typical employee then their salary will get bumped and the discrepancy will continue.

A motion was made by Orosco to add current stipends to base pay, however, no board member seconded the motion. 

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