Members of Austin ISD’s employees union Education Austin advocated for higher wages for the district’s classified employees at a school board meeting on April 28.

AISD’s preliminary budget for next school year includes over 600 full-time job cuts in order to balance the budget and provide pay increases for teachers. The cuts would also allow the district to increase bus drivers’ minimum wage to $21 an hour and raise base pay for all classified employees to $16 an hour.

Education Austin members urged the board to further increase teacher raises and adopt a $20 per hour minimum wage for all classified employees using AISD’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) funds— federal funding provided to the district to address the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on students.

“I cannot imagine my past three years at Josephine Houston without the support of our classified employees, many of whom have known my students for much longer than I have,” said third-grade teacher and Education Austin member Katie Allison. “Their relationship with our kids and specialized skills are essential to my campus community as well as across the district. It’s well past time for AISD to properly compensate classified employees.”

The board was not set to take action on the budget at its April 28 meeting. A final vote will take place in June.