San Marcos CISD staff will see a 3% increase in compensation in the upcoming fiscal year.

A starting salary of $55,000 alongside a longevity pay increase of up to 5%, or additional compensation given to employees based on the length of service in the district, was approved by the San Marcos CISD board of trustees during a regular meeting May 20. Additionally, a $445 health insurance contribution for all employees to maintain a $0 monthly cost for employee-only coverage was approved.

A SMCISD teacher could see a 9% overall increase with the 3% raise for all employees, longevity pay and health insurance contribution of $445, according to a news release.

"We’re committed to taking care of our people," board President Anne Halsey said in the release. "There are great things going on in San Marcos CISD, and the board wants to do everything we can to attract and retain the most talented teachers, staff and administrators. With this plan, we are covering the cost of our employees’ health insurance premiums, staying competitive with surrounding districts by increasing pay at all levels and giving veteran teachers an incentive to stay in the district."

A closer look

Four options, which included the cost of benefits and stipends, were presented for consideration by trustees:
  • Model 1: A 1% increase and $53,700 starting salary, which would cost the district a total of $79,491,704
  • Model 2: A 1.5% increase and $54,000 starting salary, which would cost the district a total of $79,744,381
  • Model 3: A 2% increase and $54,300 starting salary, which would cost the district a total of $80,110,526
  • Model 4: A 3% increase and $55,000 starting salary, which would cost the district a total of $80,854,349
The board unanimously voted to approve Model 4, which provides the largest increase in staff compensation out of the options presented.

“I just feel that our staff deserves that, and we need to support them as much as we can,” board Vice President Clementine Cantu said. “It's heartbreaking we can't give more. I mean, I wish that we could give 4[%] or 5%, but I'm going to support Model 4 very strongly.

According to a report by the Texas Association of School Boards, the median teacher salary in districts throughout the state that responded to a survey was $55,600 for the 2023-24 school year.

The background

Since January, SMCISD administration has been presenting a series of budget workshops to the board of trustees for the FY 2024-25 budget. Trustees requested the administration present different scenarios for the FY 2024-25 compensation plan, according to agenda documents.

In an effort to cut costs in FY 2023-24, trustees voted to approve attrition—or not refilling nonessential positions—a hiring freeze for noninstructional positions and a reduction in travel for professional development at an April 15 meeting.

Looking ahead

With the approval of the compensation plan, district administration can continue the budget process for the upcoming fiscal year. A public hearing on the FY 2024-25 tax rate and budget will be held during the June 17 board meeting.

District officials also discussed the possibility of holding a voter-approval tax rate election, or VATRE, in the future to help fund staff compensation and other district priorities.

“This salary and benefit increase is not sustainable; next year, the following year, we're going to have to make some very difficult decisions,” at-large trustee Juan Miguel Arredondo said. “I'm glad that we can do it this last time, but I think without significant action from the state or the legislature, or even here locally this is it.”