Hays CISD eyes teacher pay raises

Hays CISD teacher pay raises are on the horizon, but district leaders are waiting to see just how much they’ll bump them up.

That was the discussion Monday as Hays CISD’s board of trustees finalized its $235 million budget for the 2019-20 school year by a unanimous 7-0 vote. District leaders finalized the budget prior to the start of a new fiscal year in July.

However, Hays CISD’s budget could increase by approximately $3 million from the state as part of House Bill (HB) 3. 

HB 3, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, allocates state funding to increase pay for teachers, librarians, nurses and other staff members. The bill also expanded the length of Pre-K from half-days to full-days for eligible students.

Prior to the bill’s passage, Hays CISD had already earmarked $12 million to increase teachers’ pay by 5%, auxiliary staff’s pay by 4% and other staff members’ pay by 3%.

However, should the district receive the approximately $3 million from the state, teacher pay raises could rise as high as 7% to 8%. However, Hays CISD Superintendent Eric Wright said the district wants to make sure how much it’s getting from the state before ironing pay bumps. 

“We do not have official numbers or direction from TEA (the Texas Education Agency) yet,” Wright said. “These are just our calculations and we do not want to overestimate like some districts may be doing.”

Hays CISD educators supported increasing salaries June 24 as nearly three dozen teachers and staff members attended the budget discussion.

Educator Carla Perez led the group in asking the district to consider a raise greater than what was proposed, regardless of the state’s additional funding.

“I want to make sure that we are doing what is right and that we are valuing our teachers and staff,” Perez said. “We have a bus driver here who says she has not received a raise since 2011 and it was .44 cents.”

All told, the district’s budget increased 12 percent from last year, which equated to a $24.2 million difference. Excluding federally-funded student nutrition dollars and debt payments, the district’s operational budget is set to be $185,380,560.

The budget states that the district is spending the majority of its funding on paying staff, paying for instructional resources and training for staff development.

The district has also budgeted $6.3 million for counseling services, $391,084 for social work services, roughly $2 million for student transportation and significant payments toward campus maintenance.

Along with allocating state funds for teacher pay raises, HB 3 also restricted the ability of school districts to collect revenue from properties when ad valorem appraisals increased significantly. With the change, school districts now rely more on state funding to pay employees than in previous years.

The budget will be reviewed and amended during a meeting in August after the district receives more information from the state.

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