Comal ISD is considering giving all employees a 3% increase in compensation for the 2023-24 school year, which would cost the district approximately $5.4 million. A presentation updating the board of trustees on the Compensation Task Force took place during a regular school board meeting Feb. 23.

The purpose of the Compensation Taskforce is to analyze the current budget and what percentage of it goes toward payroll, understand market trends by comparing Comal ISD wages to other schools, and make recommendations to the school board based on their findings.

The task force committee was made up of 24 members who work in the district including teachers, principals and assistant principals, and professional staff members.

“Throughout my time on the task force, I've learned a lot about the budget and the way that the compensation plan is made and the way that those things are handled,” said Ben Stevens

senior associate for Goodwin Frazier Elementary. “I've worked in the district for seven years now, and it definitely has been an enlightening experience just to get a little more information as to how those things are handled and processed.”

The task force made a recommendation to increase the current base salary of $55,000 a year for speech and language pathology, physical therapy, and occupational therapy employees by $5,000. This would ultimately cost the district an additional $205,000 in expenditures.

“It's a critical need for a district to fill these positions and be competitive among other districts as well as the medical field,” said Monica Bowman, physical therapist for Comal ISD. “We currently have 12 speech-language pathologist vacancies that have to be filled with contracts or vendors. Vacancies among this group can cost $30,000-$60,000 more than their salary positions.”

The recommendation was also made by the task force to pay the daily rate instead of stipend for multiple positions including academic career advisers, counselors and librarians.

Additionally, they recommended that stipends are increased by $1,000 for head basketball, softball and soccer coaches. Athletic trainers and assistance athletic trainers were also recommended to receive a $750 increase in stipends. Ultimately the stipend increase for athletic staff would result in a total cost of $23,250 for the district.

“The group saw that our current stipend schedule is very well aligned with the market average, and there's only a small percentage of our stipends that need to be adjusted specifically increasing baseball, softball and soccer and coaching stipends,” said Jordan Leverett, assistant principal at Smithson Valley Middle School.

The task force decided that life insurance and continuing education were top priorities to consider in the district. According to Stevens, life insurance is offered to employees who do not choose the medical insurance plan. The committee recommended providing a $15,000 life insurance policy for the 3,400 benefit eligible employees in the district and to continue funding Grow Your Own programs for staff.

The Texas Association of School Boards Salary Survey will be conducted in Comal ISD from April to June, which will compare Comal ISD staff compensation to other school districts and give a more in-depth look at the district’s pay.

“We're going to follow your recommendation, and we're going to try to give everything that we can to our teachers to every single staff member,” said Michelle Ross, board of trustees vice president. “The bus drivers, custodians, front office staff, professional services and teachers and all of that. It is on the forefront of our minds.“