By Camelia Juarez and Moses Leos III
A 6.1% overall average pay bump is forthcoming for Hays CISD educators after district officials finalized how much they can offer, based on additional state funding.
By a unanimous 7-0 Aug. 19 vote, the Hays CISD Board of Trustees finalized increasing pay by $3,250 annually for teachers, librarians and nurses in the district. In addition, trustees also approved additional incentives for educators ranging from $100 to $400, based on the number of years they worked.
Part of the pay increases are a result of a boost in state funding that came with passage of House Bill 3, which was signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in June.
In June, Hays CISD leaders had budgeted a 4.35% pay raise for teachers, nurses and librarians, which amounted to a $2,250 increase. The district also planned for a 4% pay raise for auxiliary staff, such as custodians and maintenance, and a 3% pay bump for administrators.
However, district staff waited until August to finalize any pay increases until they knew exactly how much they were getting from the state. As a result, the district was able to offer teachers $1,000 more than what had been approved.
Eric Wright, Hays CISD superintendent, said the district “didn’t have as much data” in June to determine the total pay increase amount. Once the district got a “warm body temperature” with its first day enrollment of 20,418 and how much they could get from the state in terms of education funding, Wright said staff gave its green light to recommend the pay raise.
Wright said ensuring the district recruits and retains “high quality teachers” is its goal.
“We have to be competitive with school districts around us. With this increase … we are right there and we are highly competitive with the surrounding communities whe you factor in all the benefits.”
However, Wright said the pay increase, even with state funding, will cost approximately $1.5 million, deepening the district’s budget deficit to roughly $1.9 million. Wright said an expected surplus from the Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget could help cover the deficit and accommodate pay raises for FY 2021-22.
Any pay increases after FY22 will be subject to future legislation taken during the 87th legislature in 2021.
“This (increasing salaries) is a great idea. This is something we need to do,” Hays CISD trustee Willie Tenorio said.
Hays CISD Chief Communication Officer Tim Savoy said all funds received from the state goes straight to the teachers because they are the foundation of the school.
“We have been asking for help from the legislature for years. Our hope is that this is a trend that will continue every legislative session because investing in our children will make a huge difference in the future,” Savoy said.