Katy ISD’s board of trustees discussed a potential one-time lump sum payment for teachers at its June 17 work study meeting.

The overview

Brian Schuss, KISD’s chief human resources officer, laid out two options the district’s teacher retention committee wanted to recommend to the board.

The following options are based on rewarding teachers from salary benchmarks of five, 10, 15 and 20 years of experience:
  • $50 per year of service, which will begin at five years of service at a one-time payment of $250, $500 for 10 years of service, $750 for 15 years of service and $1,000 for 20 years of experience
  • $100 per year of service, which will also begin at five years of service at a one-time payment of $500, $1,000 for 10 years of service, $1,500 for 15 years of service and $2,000 for 20 years of service
If approved, no teachers with years of experience between the five-year benchmarks would receive these one-time payments. These one-time payments would be given to teachers based on their total number of years of experience, even if they were not in KISD, Schuss said at the meeting.

While some board members were in support of providing teachers at least $50 per year of service, other board members said they would like to see a different plan that rewards teachers who don’t meet the five-year salary benchmark.

Digging deeper

Board member Dawn Champagne mentioned another plan discussed at the teacher retention committee meeting, in which teachers would first receive the one-time lump sum payment at 10 years, totaling at least $500, and teachers in the district who had 11 to 14 years of experience would receive the 10-year lump sum payment in their first year as a teacher at KISD.

This plan would allow for teachers who are starting at KISD with 16-19 years of experience to be paid at least the 15-year experience payment of $750, Champagne said at the meeting.

While the cost for the district would be either $770,000 or over $1.5 million for the first two options, the cost of the third option would be about $2.8 million to $5.8 million, according to district officials.

“The reason why I had proposed it was to make it so that everyone would get a bonus or lump sum at least once,” Champagne said. “The reason why I suggested year 10 was because many companies don’t really recognize year five as reaching longevity.”

What they said

Board member Amy Thieme said she believes rewarding teachers who have at least five years of experience is the right decision.

“When I look at the numbers and I see the majority of our teachers are five years, I see a value in that,” Thieme said. “We wouldn’t have 10-year teachers if we didn’t have our five-year teachers. I wish we could do more. I wish we had the money, but we just don’t this year.”

Board member Rebecca Fox said she doesn’t believe the one-time payment amounts are enough.

“It’s not the right plan,” Fox said. “I think that our experienced teachers deserve more recognition and more reward for the work they’ve done their whole lives, and I think that this falls way short.”

Board member Mary Cuzela said she believes the district is doing what it can with its current budget.

“I see this as laying a foundation,” Cuzela said. “This is ... a minimum we can do in the tight budget year, and I applaud the effort, and I think it’s only a positive.”

What else?

At its May 13 board meeting, trustees unanimously approved a 3% pay increase from the midpoint for KISD staff and teachers for fiscal year 2024-25, Community Impact reported.

The district is projected to face a $7.8 million shortfall in the FY 2024-25 budget, Chief Financial Officer Christopher Smith said.

Board member Victor Perez said the shortfall for FY 2024-25 could potentially be eliminated due to underspending in the ongoing FY 2023-24 budget and dipping into the district's reserve funds, but the shortfall amount does not include the midpoint increase or any of these potential one-time lump sum payment options.

Stay tuned

While the decision for the type of lump sum payment has yet to be determined, the board plans to consider it at its next board meeting June 24, along with further discussion.

The board will also approve the FY 2024-25 budget at its August board meeting.