Trustees did not disclose a timeline or specific steps on how these goals will be obtained but did note it will require “tough decisions” and focusing on cost savings.
“It’s going to be painful to get there, but we think that that’s the most important thing for us,” President Jim Dossey said. “We believe as a board this is something that needs to get done now. ... We want to be the best-paid staff in Montgomery County.”
For fiscal year 2020-21, the district will not be giving pay raises to staff or teachers. MISD will likely adopt a budget deficit of $1.6 million for FY 2020-21—better than the originally anticipated $2.8 million deficit, officials said. The budget will be adopted June 30.
Meanwhile at neighboring Conroe ISD, trustees approved cost-of-living raises, or 3% raises, for teachers and select staff at its June 16 meeting. In total, the teacher raises increased teacher salary spending by $7.7 million, and nonteacher salaries were increased by $4.8 million.
In previous meeting, trustees had expressed concern that teachers may be leaving MISD for neighboring districts with higher pay. However, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Sonja Lopez said in a follow up interview she has not seen an increase in the number of teachers leaving MISD.
Still, trustees were united in the belief that eliminating budget deficits and increasing staff salaries were key goals.
“I’d like to see the pay equal to the accountability rating,” said trustee Linda Porten, referring to MISD’s Texas Education Agency A rating. “Our teachers do such a great job, and we want them to be rewarded.”
Trustee Matt Fuller said he hopes administration and staff will be supportive of the board’s efforts to pinch pennies and cut costs.
“The deficit budget has been an albatross around our district’s neck for long enough, and the board is ready to move,” he said. “We may have to adopt a short-term deficit the next couple months, but under no circumstances should anyone think that a deficit at the end of the year is acceptable.”