The Hutto ISD Board of Trustees approved teacher salary increases and revisited its policy for teacher stipends at its meeting May 9.
Previously, Hutto ISD teachers, librarians and nurses with no previous experience started at $41,000 per year, and received a $100–$600 raise every year. The new salary schedule, recommended by the Texas Association of School Boards, now starts workers with no previous experience at $42,000 and adds $500 to salaries every year. The change reflects an increase of 2.1 percent, and will cost the district approximately $1.3 million.
The increases come as part of a district effort to remain competitive with regional salaries and to help retain teachers within the 5–15 year experience range.
"We have a high turnover rate in those middle years and we're trying to retain those teachers," Hutto ISD Public Information Officer Emily Grobe said. "We were running into the problem that other districts' ... salary scales were higher, and we were basically growing teachers until they got to those middle years and then losing them to higher pay."
The district also revised its policies on tuition reimbursement and master's degree stipends. In the past, Hutto ISD teachers who had any master's degree earned a $1,000 stipend, but the board voted to extend that stipend only to teacher's with master's degrees in their content areas. Similarly, while the district has offered tuition reimbursements across the board to staff pursuing master's degrees, it will now only offer assistance to those pursing degrees in what they are already teaching.
"When you have a teacher who is getting a higher degree in their content field, it makes them a more effective teacher, and it makes the learning environment and the educational opportunities for our students that much greater," Grobe said. "So we want to value that by giving a stipend for content fields, so that it impacts instruction and learning at a higher level."