Rick Gardner, associate superintendent of human resources at HISD, said the 2019-20 year features the largest compensation package in memory that the district has approved. He said compensation packages from previous budget cycles were between $6 million and $8 million.
“This appears to be the largest compensation package the district has put forward—at least since I’ve been here in the last six years,” Gardner said.
Starting salaries for teachers, librarians and nurses were increased by $2,300 from $54,400 to $56,700; however, employees can receive up to $3,300 raises depending on how many years of experience they have.
Counselors—who are on a different pay scale than teachers, librarians and nurses—will receive a minimum of $3,400 raises. All teachers, librarians, nurses and counselors will also receive an additional $1,400 incentive in the 2019-20 school year, which Gardner said could be administered in half portions in December and May.
The incentive in addition to the general pay raise will increase pay for teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses by a minimum of $4,000. Meanwhile, the beginning teacher salary, was raised by $2,300, and they are also eligible for the $1,400 incentive.
In addition to teacher compensations, trustees approved increasing the hourly entry wage for custodial, cafeteria and bus assistant staff from $9.89 to $10.50 per hour at a special budget meeting in May. The entry wage for bus drivers was also increased from $15.10 to $16 per hour, according to a news release from the district.
Police officers will receive between a $3,600 and $7,800 raise depending on pay grade, according to the 2019-20 compensation package.
Additionally, at the special budget meeting in May, the district also approved entry-level salary increases to $50,000 for HISD police officers for the 2019-20 year and the district's hiring of two new officers and one dispatcher, according to a news release from the district.
While the district strives to implement employee raises annually to keep pace with the cost of living, Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen said the raises were in part due to the school finance reform, House Bill 3, which was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 11.
“As you know, this is a very interesting budget year because House Bill 3 was signed … and those districts with a fiscal year starting July 1 are legally required to have their budget passed by June 30,” Fagen said. “We are working really closely with experts who don’t know a lot more than we do about all of the aspects of this bill. We feel very positive about the outcome for Humble ISD and what we’re going to be able to provide to our employees this year.”
The reform will add almost $22.9 million and $24.3 million to the district’s budget in 2020 and 2021, respectively, according to the Legislative Budget Board's model runs for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.
HB 3 mandates districts to allocate 30% of new moneys to employee raises with three-fourths of the funding reserved for teachers, nurses, librarians and counselors, according to the bill text. Trustee Robert Sitton said per HB 3, the district was only required to reserve $6.8 million for employee compensation, not $18.7 million.
“We’re spending roughly 81% of all the new money the state has given us and putting it back in the classrooms in the hands of our teachers. That’s aggressive, and it’s well-due ... [and] well-deserved,” Sitton said. “I wanted to make sure people understood that we’re not putting that state money in our pockets—we’re putting it where it matters most, and that’s the folks on the front line working with our kids.”
Other agenda items:
- The board ceremoniously swore in new trustees Lori Twomey and Robert Scarfo as well as re-elected trustee Nancy Morrison into their positions on the board. The trustees were officially sworn in on the day prior, June 10.
- Trustees unanimously appointed officers for the 2019-20 school year. They appointed Morrison as board president, Sitton as vice president, Martina Dixon as board secretary and Angela Conrad as parliamentarian.
Correction: This article has been updated from its original version to clarify that raises will be for all Humble ISD employees, not only full-time employees. It has also been updated to state the correct compensation package ranges from previous budget years, and the minimum raises for current teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses.