PfISD Chief Operations Officer Eduardo Ramos said the pay increase falls in line with recent votes done by neighboring school districts like Austin ISD, Round Rock ISD and Leander ISD.
“We want to make sure we compare ourselves to the larger competitors [for staff] in our area,” Ramos said at the May 20 PfISD board of trustees meeting.
During a presentation to trustees, Ramos showed the district will still remain competitive or perform better on teachers' salaries compared to those neighboring school districts.
PfISD in the 2021-22 school year will offer a starting salary of $51,900 for teachers with no years of experience, according to district documents. That number is higher than the starting salaries offered by AISD, RRISD and LISD.
The district’s pay scale will increase marginally with years of experience, and Ramos said PfISD expects to pay better than other competing school districts for teachers with five to 20 years of experience as well.
“We wanted to make sure we were aggressive with [retaining] our experienced teachers,” Ramos told trustees.
The 1% pay increase is the smallest hike for PfISD teachers and staff in recent years. Trustees in March 2020—just weeks before the coronavirus pandemic forced campuses to close to students—approved a 3% increase across the board for staff and faculty. The year before that, PfISD utilized a package of state funds to back a 6.7% pay increase for its employees.
The pay increases will cost the district an estimated $3.56 million next year, according to district documents shown by Ramos. About half of that total will come from the 1% general pay increase itself, while the other half will come from market adjustments for experienced teachers.
Ramos said these costs have been included in budget forecasts for the next school year. The district in February was looking at a potential $14 million budget shortfall in the 2021-22 school year related to enrollment decreases incurred due to the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier in May, Ramos said the district is watching several education funding bills moving through the Texas Legislature that may help offset some of the budget constraints next school year.