“This is the most robust and powerful compensation package in my 21 years in the district,” Education Austin President Ken Zarifis said at a news conference, calling it "an inspiring day for Austin ISD."
Superintendent Paul Cruz said the raises represent a $48 million increase in teacher compensation in the district's budget. Through House Bill 3, a school finance bill that was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott June 11, the state had required the district to increase compensation by at least $21 million, he said.
“We are looking at a very different scenario if HB3 doesn’t pass," Cruz said. "[These raises] would not have be possible.”
The FY 2019-20 budget, which will come to the district's board of trustees for approval June 17, also includes a $500,000 investment in stipends for special education staff, and a $1.2 million investment in bilingual staff, Cruz said. The budget will go into effect July 1, at the start of the district's new fiscal year.
"This historic agreement is for those who serve our district," board president Geronimo Rodriguez said. "These across the board raises are for everyone in Austin ISD."
In May, members of Education Austin—the AISD teachers’ and employees’ union—had demanded 10% raises from the district. Zarifis, who led a rally for district staff May 20, said that it was a fight for the current students and every child that comes into the district in the future.