With Richardson ISD trustees opting for a plan Superintendent Tabitha Branum previously called “a completely new way of looking at compensation," the district’s teachers and some staff are set to see a raise.

Amid ongoing budget discussion for fiscal year 2024-25, the board of trustees passed a new compensation plan for the upcoming school year during a May 2 meeting that officials say will help attract and retain teaching talent in the classroom.

“We have to have the very best teachers in front of our students,” Branum said at the meeting. “What we are bringing forward is what we believe is a bold plan that really is necessary to try to address [a previous gap in compensation].”

What happened

According to a presentation by David Pate, assistant superintendent of finance and support services, the starting salary for new teachers in RISD is $60,000, which is lower than many other neighboring districts.

Under the new compensation plan for the 2024-25 school year, the starting salary for new teachers will be $61,000, making it higher than districts such as Plano, Denton and Lewisville ISDs. Instead of a traditional compensation structure that increases pay by a certain percentage for each year of experience, the new plan provides a $500 salary increase for each year of experience below 10 years and a $1,000 salary increase for each year above that for teaching staff, which includes nurses, counselors and librarians.

In addition, many other nonteaching staff would see a 3% pay increase, and custodial staff would have a starting pay of $15 per hour.

Overall, the newly adopted plan is expected to cost RISD about $18 million annually.

“If we're going to call teaching a profession, let's treat teachers like professionals, and let's pay them like professionals,” trustee Chris Poteet said at the meeting. “It's an important profession to each and every one of us for the future of our community, our state, our nation.”

The context

Addressing compensation packages is one of a number of proposals recommended by a Community Budget Steering Committee aimed at helping the district prioritize budget resources and addressing an up to $28 million shortfall in FY 2024-25. Other measures include consolidating certain elementary campuses, which trustees approved in March.

The FY 2024-25 budget is expected to be the fifth consecutive budget shortfall adopted by the board. Branum previously said the district’s past and future expected budgetary issues stem from a lack of increase to public education funding from the Texas Legislature since FY 2018-19 and a decline in enrollment.

RISD trustees expect to adopt the FY 2024-25 budget in June.