Houston ISD board passes budget with $14 minimum wage, but teacher raises still lag nearby districts

Houston ISD's fiscal year begins July 1.

Houston ISD's fiscal year begins July 1.

The Houston ISD board of education pushed back against the administration's recommended budget June 27, approving amendments to raise the minimum wage to $14 per hour, limit raises for nonteacher employees making more than $75,000 and allocate $24.5 million in additional resources for campuses.

"Stick with us—we don't go home tonight and say we're done," trustee Anne Sung told audience members, which had included community members backing the minimum wage increase. "We're not where we want to be; we're only going to get there if we keep working together as a community."

The amended $2 billion budget passed in a 5-1 vote. Three board members were absent. The board previously rejected a budget presented by the administration that did not include any raises but would have instead presented raises in a separate vote.

The minimum wage increase was projected to cost $16.9 million and was originally proposed by trustee Elizabeth Santos to be paid for through departmental cuts that the administration proposed in an earlier budget workshop when it was forecasting a shortfall and no new state revenue.

Administrators warned those cuts would trigger potentially hundreds of layoffs, so trustees recommended using fund reserves to prevent staff cuts, with the expectation that additional House Bill 3 funds and budgetary falloff—which occurs when unexpended funds accrue at the end of the year—would offset the increase and would be used to pay back the fund reserve.

Trustee Sue Deigaard was the lone vote against the minimum wage amendment, saying it had not been fully vetted by the administration to ensure layoffs or detrimental cuts would not occur as a result.

"I just don't feel that I can support anything as far as amendments go where I don't know the impact—that hasn't had a financial analysis done on it," she said.

Despite giving teachers a minimum 3.5% raise, the starting pay rate for a new teacher will be $54,369, at least $1,000 lower than some of its neighboring districts, which are all approving pay increases this year.

"It seems like every campus is looking for teachers, and teachers have options. They can go right next door a couple miles away and work for a district that pays $2-$3,000 more than we are,"  board president Diana Davila said.
By Matt Dulin

Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.


A Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County study on eliminating ride fares left both METRO board members and officials seemingly unconvinced of the likelihood of implementing it in Harris County. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
METRO board of directors say free fare 'not feasible' for transit authority

A METRO study on eliminating ride fares left board members and officials unconvinced of the likelihood of implementing it in Harris County.

Houston City Council approves revisions to 2015 flood buyout processes

New guidelines adjust single-family and multifamily home buyout process for those affected by 2015 floods.

Breathing Center of Houston moves therapy rehab to new location

Breathing Center of Houston has moved one of its locations to 6108 S. Rice Ave., Houston, on Jan. 8 from its old location on Beechnut Street. The new center offers a more modern decor along with the same program offerings, including outpatient rehabilitation, which focuses on improving the quality of life for patients with lung disease or chronic lung issues. Patients interact one-on-one with medical therapists to learn breathing techniques and strength and endurance exercises. 713-660-0663. www.bchouston.com

Meyerland HEB
H-E-B announces Meyerland store opening date

H-E-B will open its new Meyerland Plaza location Jan. 29 at 4700 Beechnut St., Houston.

(Jen Para/Community Impact Newspaper)
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo concert tickets go on sale Jan. 16

Lower-level seating options are already very limited.

Texas oil and gas industry could see a major slowdown in 2020

The oil and natural gas industry paid a record-setting $16.3 billion in taxes and royalties to local governments and the state in 2019, the Texas Oil and Gas Association announced Tuesday.

HGA driver Derek King picks up a patient from David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport in Spring before transporting her to the Texas Medical Center. (Courtesy Derek King)
Houston Ground Angels seeking volunteers to drive patients to Texas Medical Center

Houston Ground Angels is a nonprofit organization that provides transportation between local airports and the Texas Medical Center for patients with cancer and other life-threatening diseases and illnesses.

Chevron Houston Marathon
Chevron Marathon 2020 street closures, places to watch and cheer on

This year’s Chevron Houston Marathon will bring 27,000 estimated participants into the area on Jan. 19.

Image courtesy ABC 13
Bellaire PD: Suspect arrested in connection with shooting death at Bellaire High School

Via ABC13: A student shot at Bellaire High School has died, sources told ABC13 Tuesday. Officials say the suspect is still on the loose.

The Texas Department of Transportation has announced a major road closure on Loop 610. (Courtesy Fotolia)
TxDOT: Section of Loop 610 will shut down overnight Wednesday, Thursday

The Texas Department of Transportation will close a section of Loop 610 overnight this week as construction continues on the elevated bus lanes project.

GreenStreet is a 570,000 square foot mixed-use, walkable development located in downtown Houston along the METRORail, an area that would be subject to new development guidelines being considered by the city.
Public has final chance to weigh in on new policies aiming to make Houston more walkable

Proponents of two upcoming policy changes say they will make Houston pedestrian-friendly but opponents say they will cause more traffic and parking headaches.

 A line of thunderstorms with severe wind gusts is likely to roll through southeast Texas on Friday night. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Friday night storms could bring 75 mph wind gusts; how to prepare for strong winds

The Storm Prediction Center has issued tornado, wind, and hail probability maps for Jan. 10. The greatest threat for severe weather remains north of I-10. ABC 13 will get four more updates of all these maps from the Storm Prediction Center throughout the day.

Back to top