More School Districts OK Budgets, Boost Staff Pay With New State Money

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Brentwood Middle School teacher Megan Prado teaches a seventh grade integrated reading and writing course.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Megan Prado teaches a class at Brentwood Middle School. Edgewood ISD and four other local districts have approved pay raises as a result of House Bill 3.

Three more San Antonio districts wrapped up budget talks last week. Each approved pay raises for district staff as the result of an influx of money from House Bill 3, the school finance overhaul bill from the most recent legislative session.

Amid uncertainty about the law’s overall impact, many district leaders restated that much is still to be determined as Texas Education Agency fills in the administrative details of how the bill will be carried out.

North East and San Antonio ISDs have already passed their own budgets for 2019-20.

Edgewood ISD

Edgewood trustees voted last Tuesday to pass a nearly $100 million budget that includes across the board raises for employees and additional raises for teachers with six or more years of experience.

All employees will receive a 3 percent bump, and teachers with more time in the classroom will get 3.5 percent. This is in line with other districts, including San Antonio and North East ISDs, which also passed raises close to the 3 percent mark.

Superintendent Eduardo Hernandez announced on Twitter that the district would also consider a one-time supplemental payment later on for classroom teachers.

Edgewood ISD is starting its fiscal year on July 1 instead of Sept. 1 this year. The district joins a handful of others in the San Antonio area that had to quickly grapple with changes resulting from HB 3.

The district’s property tax rate will decrease from $1.38 per $100 of property value to $1.30 because of HB 3’s provisions. This is expected to save the average Edgewood homeowner $48, Chief Financial Officer Myrna Martinez told trustees last week.

Harlandale ISD

Harlandale trustees approved a $152 million budget June 24. The budget includes pay increases between 4 and 6 percent for teachers and librarians.

Teachers and librarians with up to five years of experience will receive a 4 percent bump, those with between six and 15 years of experience will receive a 5 percent increase, and those with 16 or more years of experience will get a 6 percent boost.

All other personnel, including counselors and nurses, will get a 4 percent increase based on the pay range midpoint.

Harlandale’s tax rate will decrease from $1.56 per $100 of property value to $1.50 because of HB 3.

Judson ISD

Last Thursday, the Judson board of trustees approved a $258 million budget that included various pay raises for staff throughout the district. Teachers, nurses, librarians, and counselors with six or more years of experience will get a salary boost of $1,930. They will also receive a retention incentive in December that will come from a pot of $500,000, to be evenly distributed.

The percentage increase for this group of employees may differ based on their current salary.

Teachers, nurses, librarians, and counselors will receive a boost of $1,630. Auxiliary staff will get an increase of 2.75 percent, Child Nutrition employees will get 3 percent more based on the midpoint of the pay grade, and bus drivers will get an increase of at least $1 an hour. Administrative staff will receive a 1.5 percent increase based on the midpoint of the pay range.

All staff working at campuses that feed Wagner High School will receive a retention incentive in the 2020-21 school year separate from the December incentive for those with at least 6 years of experience. Teachers will receive $1,000 and instructional paraprofessionals will receive $500 in September 2020.

The approved budget leaves a $6.4 million deficit. District officials had forecast a $19 million shortfall, but funds from HB 3 and some cost savings helped cover part of the gap. Trustees plan to cover the deficit with funds from district reserves.

Judson’s tax rate will decrease from $1.44 per $100 of property value to $1.37 because of HB 3.

A number of local districts have yet to approve their budgets because their fiscal year begins on Sept. 1. Northside, Alamo Heights, South San, and East Central ISDs are among this group. Each district is set to begin budget discussions closer to August.

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