As Round Rock ISD continues the process of creating its budget for the 2024-25 budget year, administrators are proposing a 1% general pay increase for all employees, as well as a bonus tied to the district's student enrollment.

What you need to know

The district has informed the community that some budget cuts are imminent, with a projected shortfall of about $30 million for the 2024-25 school year. However, district administrators said this will not preclude them from including a small pay bump for employees in proposals for the budget, in order to retain employees.

In a proposal for the district's compensation plan in the upcoming year, administrators are recommending the board of trustees approve a 1% increase, with some adjustments to the overall pay structure, as well as an employee bonus if enrollment jumps ahead of projections shared in March.

The details

A 1% pay increase would play out differently across different job models, per the district's proposal:
  • Teachers and librarians: Increase starting salary to $56,000, with eligible employees receiving a $625 general pay increase.
  • Instructional, administrative and operations support; technology; instructional and business exempt positions; and police: Make adjustments to pay structure in line with Texas Association of School Boards recommendation, with eligible employees receiving a 1% raise based on the midpoint salary for their position.
  • Transportation: Adjust pay structure per TASB recommendation, with eligible employees receiving a $2 hourly increase.
  • Retention incentive: All eligible employees would receive a one-time payment of $500 if enrollment exceeds 47,000 students, and an additional $500 if enrollment exceeds 47,500 students before the last Friday in October, which is the date an official count for enrollment will be taken by the state.
If implemented, the 1% raises would cost the district about $3.8 million, with the retention incentive coming out to $3.3 million.

How we got here

For the past two budget years, the district has implemented 2-3% increases to compensation, with the goal of keeping pay competitive as many teachers who have left cited cost of living as a reason they sought employment elsewhere.

RRISD last proposed a 1% pay increase for the 2021-2022 budget year, intending to improve morale and pay despite no increase in funding from the state. The district has attributed some of its anticipated shortfall in the coming budget year to this stagnation of state funding, as well as decreased enrollment.

In the 2023-24 school year, 5,634 students transferred out of the district to attend other independent school districts and charter schools. These are students who reside within RRISD's bounds, but whose families have chosen to send their children to other institutions.

The incentive proposed is just one way of working to gain some of these students back, as the district has previously engaged recruiters in a bid to bring some students back, as well as opened the district's enrollment to children who live in neighboring school districts at certain campuses below 70% capacity. The latter of those initiatives, RRISD Superintendent Hafedh Azaiez said in February, only yielded a few hundred students in its pilot year.

Over the last five years, RRISD's enrollment has dropped from just over 50,000 in the 2019-20 school year to 46,510 in the 2023-24 school year, and recent projections from demographic firm Zonda Education show the district could once again grow to 48,000 students by 2033.

What's next?

Trustees will consider and potentially vote on the proposal during a regular meeting April 18, as well as hear another update on the proposed budget for 2024-25.