The compensation package will require the district to spend up to $53 million of its reserve funds, according to a news release May 19. However, AISD board President Arati Singh said the investment is necessary.
“There's a little bit of risk with this budget, but there's a real risk of not educating our students,” Singh told trustees during the discussion May 18. “This is long overdue, so I'm excited to support it. ... We have limited finances, and we have to be responsible about them.”
AISD will still have about $221 million in reserve funds despite having to spend around $53 million on the compensation package, officials said in a news release.
A closer look
The compensation package, which will begin in the fall semester, includes:
- $4 per hour across-the-board raises for all classified employees, bringing the minimum hourly wage to $20 per hour
- 7% raises for teachers, librarians, counselors, instructional coaches and special education-related positions; each employee will receive the better of the percentage increase or placement on a new step of the career ladder
- 5% raises for administrative professionals—up to high school principals and directors—and 3% increase for executive directors and above based on their salary range midpoint
- Above-market adjustments for licensed specialists in school psychology and educational diagnosticians
- Increased $7,000 stipends for a broader range of bilingual and special education teachers and staff
“We have an historic agreement that will literally change lives,” Education Austin President Ken Zarifis said during the meeting May 18. “In spite of a Legislature that seems to be completely against public education, this district and Education Austin continue to say workers deserve more.”
Advocacy groups—including Education Austin, the Austin ISD labor union—have made it their mission to advocate for an increase in compensation throughout the district for several years. During a board meeting Jan. 26, Segura acknowledged this. At that time, Segura said increasing compensation is necessary as many district officials expressed it is nearly impossible to afford to live in the district they work for due to low wages and increased inflation.
Trustees are expected to approve the full 2023-24 budget at its June 22 meeting.