Lake Travis ISD officials have proposed raising teacher and staff salaries by 1% next school year as the district faces one of its largest projected budget shortfalls in recent years.

At a May 15 board of trustees meeting, some board members expressed concerns about the 1% raise not being impactful enough while others said it could help LTISD compete with other districts and show staff appreciation.

“We're trying to give our teachers and staff every bit we can,” Place 2 board member Lauren White said. “This is all we can do this year, and 1% is an insult, ... but I do think that showing what we can do and working to stay on top is incredibly important.“

Two-minute impact

LTISD is considering a 1% salary increase totaling $765,000 across the district for fiscal year 2024-25, said Pam Sanchez, assistant superintendent for business services.

The district raised pay by 4% for administrators and 7% for all other staff in the 2022-23 school year and provided a 3% pay raise for all staff this school year, she said. If approved, the 1% compensation increase would be the lowest pay raise the district has adopted in over a decade since raising pay by 1.5% in the 2013-14 school year, Sanchez said.

In April, the district projected a $6.68 million budget shortfall as it worked to develop its FY 2024-25 budget, which was larger than shortfalls LTISD had seen in previous years, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Susan Fambrough said.

In an effort to cut costs, the district will limit new initiatives, positions and salary adjustments while campus budgets for student programs will not be reduced and class sizes will not increase, Sanchez said. The district reduced its projected shortfall by $2.9 million in salary and benefit reductions through staff vacancies and attrition, resulting in a remaining shortfall of $3.8 million, she said.

“No one will lose their job,” Fambrough said. “We did this all through vacancies and making sure that we can ensure that students are safe, that they are monitored [and] that student services are going to not be impacted by those vacancies being reduced.”

District officials also suggested raising the starting salary for new teachers by $1,000 for a salary of $57,000. Compared to other districts in the area, LTISD has the highest average salary, second-highest 10- and 15-year salary, and fourth-highest starting salary, according to district information.

What they’re saying

Place 7 board member Keely Cano said a 1% pay raise could be detrimental to the district’s fund balance while not making a substantial impact in the lives of staff members.

“We're looking at a significant chunk of our deficit,” Cano said about the 1% pay increase. “Is that 1% really going to be that positive of an impact on our teachers?”

Place 3 board member Erin Archer and board president John Aoueille agreed a 1% pay raise could help the district compete with salaries in other districts.

“Does the 1% mean anything? I think it does,” Aoueille said. “That 1% keeps our competitive edge, and the last thing we want to do is to kind of get really behind everyone and play catch-up.”

Place 1 board member Phillip Davis raised concerns that the district’s budgetary constraints could require teachers to do more with fewer resources in the classroom and not enough pay.

Also of note

The board voted to change the district’s fiscal year start date to July 1 instead of Sept. 1 starting in 2026.

At an April 3 workshop, Sanchez said the change would allow LTISD to receive a one-time payment of $10 million, and better accommodate campus and department schedules.

What’s next?

District officials will present budget recommendations to the board in June before adopting the budget in August.

The district will conduct staffing, salary and stipend surveys through the Texas Association of School Boards in the fall and present recommendations to the board in spring 2025 to inform the district’s future compensation plan, Fambrough said.