Richardson ISD will raise teacher salaries by over 5% starting in the 2023-24 school year in an effort to better attract and retain talent.

The teacher compensation plan was unanimously approved by the RISD board of trustees during during a May 4 meeting.

Quote of Note: “Our teachers and our kids are important to us,” RISD Trustee Megan Timme said. “I do not want to do anything that has someone leave our district to go find a better pay. I want the best of our schools to be robust, and I want our principals to be able to pay for whatever it takes to help our kids.”

The details: According to the approved compensation package, starting teacher salaries would begin at $60,000, a $3,000 increase compared to the 2022-23 school year. In addition, returning teachers would receive a 5.75%-8% increase of their current salary, depending upon experience. For nonteaching staff, raises as part of the compensation plan include a $3 per hour increase for custodians and an increase of 3%-6% for other staff, depending on their position.

District officials said the approved compensation plan would cost more than $20 million if the district is fully employed.

Also of note: In addition to a salary increase, the compensation plan also includes adding benefits in an effort to increase recruitment and retention. Current benefits with the district include professional staff stipends, an RISD Employee Clinic and day care/pre-K availability for district employees. New additions to the compensation plan include adding maternity/paternity leave as part of its sick leave and hardship leave days and allowing up to three sick leave bank days to be used for bereavement leave.

The background: The compensation package is the second approved change to teachers and staff salaries in nearly a year. RISD leaders created a teacher compensation program, which was approved during a May 2022 council meeting, for the 2022-23 school year to maintain a competitive advantage among nearby districts. As part of that compensation package, new teacher salaries started at $57,000, and full-time staff received a pay raise between 4% and 5%, depending on their position and experience.

Trying to establish a higher compensation package will be useful in helping to increase recruitment despite a budget shortfall, according to district officials.

According to a Feb. 16 board meeting, the district recorded a budget deficit of $23.7 million during the 2022-23 school year. The deficit is a result of reduced enrollment and inflation along with a lack of new funding from the state since before the pandemic, Superintendent Tabitha Branum said.

Other budget-related presentations are scheduled to be held throughout the month of May ahead of adoption during the June 8 board meeting.