The boards budget will allow for 3% pay increase from the midpoint of each employee’s salary bracket, GISD Chief Financial Officer Pam Sanchez said. Starting salaries will begin at $47,700, up from $46,000 last year, and the pay scale for all staff will be adjusted accordingly, she said.
The pay increase will add about $4 million to district expenses, which Sanchez said will still allow the district to adopt a balanced budget as projected property value increases will generate more revenue.
“[The increase] moves the midpoint for everybody’s salary schedule,” Sanchez said.
The decision was made ahead of the passing of a final school finance reform bill by the 86th Texas state Legislature, which is looking to possibly add a $5,000 teacher pay raise. Sanchez said if the legislation is approved, the board can come back and make adjustments, but that 3% will be the minimum increase.
The announcement comes as several area school districts are also increasing their salaries. Sanchez said increasing the midpoint pay was recommended in order to compete for quality Central Texas teachers.
As the district preliminarily works out its general fund budget for the 2019-20 school year, GISD expects an about $11 million local tax revenue increase year over year at $119.35 million. With state and federal funding, the district expects a 2019-20 total revenue of about $135.41 million, Sanchez said.
This revenue estimate includes an expected 10% property value growth and an expected 2.5% student enrollment growth, among other revenue sources.
Sanchez has proposed a budget that spends all predicted revenue at $135.41 million, with about $43.5 million going toward campus and department budget, $78.5 million toward salaries and $13.4 million toward benefits. These numbers include the pay increase, adding 31 teachers, a 0% increase to department and campus budgets, and paying an additional $8 million in Chapter 41 recapture, or “the Robin Hood tax,” she said.
Overall the district anticipates paying $26 million in recapture, if current law stands, Sanchez said.
GISD Superintendent Fred Brent said the district is in hiring season, and the promise of the base pay increase will help in the process.
Brent said 85% of the district’s operating costs go toward personnel, and he wanted to inform staff of the increase before summer begins.
“[We are] keeping our fingers crossed hoping that our legislators do support public education because it’s kind of important to have an educated society,” Brent said.
GISD will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget during its June 17 meeting.