Hays CISD trustees considering $1.4M in pay adjustments

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Hays CISD trustees could spend $1.4 million in the 2015-16 budget to correct inequities in its pay structures should the board implement the recommendations of a Texas education group’s study.

Cindy Clegg, human resources director at the Texas Association of School Boards, said at a Feb. 16 board meeting that trustees action last year to close the teacher pay gap was progress, but work remains to fix all of the districts compensation problems.

TASB’s recommendations include adjusting pay for 420 employees, excluding teachers, to bring them to within a pay range that is competitive with districts in the area.

Trustee Holly Raymond, citing issues with the data that informed last years pay raises, said the board should ensure that no employee group is ignored.

“I want to make sure that whatever decision we make that we are not leaving anyone behind,” Raymond said. “I think it’s unfair of us as a district to take advantage of people who have been here for a long time, who don’t want to move, who like their jobs, and pay them the lowest we can pay them because we know they’ll stick around.”

Last May trustees voted to increase salaries for teachers, nurses and librarians by an average of 3.9 percent for the 2014-15 school year.

Additionally, all other employees received raises equal to 1.5 percent of the midpoint in their salary range. For example, a mail courier who made $8.59 an hour with a midpoint of $10.62 in his or her pay range in 2013-14 will make $8.75 in 2014-15.

The adjustments were one of the primary reasons for an 8-percent jump in the districts budget for that year.

TASBs recommendations would affect employees that are not on the districts salary schedule, such as teachers, nurses and librarians. The adjustments would bring experienced employees toward compensation that is more competitive within the region.

Superintendent Michael McKie said addressing inequities in its pay structures is the logical next step to correcting the districts pay deficiencies.

“What we are discussing here this evening is taking the new pay grade and repositioning all the people appropriately within that pay grade,” McKie said. “The equity adjustment [last year]didn’t necessarily do that. … We knew we still had a problem even after the equity adjustments.”

In response to concerns last years pay adjustments did not have the positive effect trustees intended, Clegg said it takes a while for districts to correct deficiencies in their pay systems.

“You have an architecture in place now to control [discrepancies in pay],” she said. “Your pay system was pretty broken last year. It’s all fixable.”

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JJ Velasquez
The Central Austin editor since 2016, JJ covers city government and other topics of community interest—when he's not editing the work of his prolific writers. He began his tenure at Community Impact Newspaper as the reporter for its San Marcos | Buda | Kyle edition covering local government and public education. The Laredo, Texas native is also a web developer whose mission is to make the internet a friendly place for finding objective and engaging news content.
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