As Superintendent Doug Killian prepares to leave for the same job at Pflugerville ISD, the news at perhaps his final meeting at the helm of Hutto ISD was positive.

While work toward the 2017-18 budget continues, it looks like a second straight year of lowering the rate for taxpayers will come to fruition. Teachers and staff at HISD will also receive raises beyond the step hikes they earn, allowing the district to stay competitive with other area schools and help retain employees.

Following a March pay systems review presentation from the Texas Association of Boards, the board of trustees on Thursday night agreed to increase salaries 2.3 percent for teachers and 2 percent for all other job groups in the district. Nineteen special education instructors will receive an additional stipend of $1,000.

The raises will cost HISD an extra $998,970 in the next budget, which is estimated to be $63.1 million in 2017-18, compared to $58 million in 2016-17.

Assistant HISD Superintendent Ed Ramos said turnover is costly for the district and it is imperative Hutto keeps up with neighboring school systems.

“We have to implement pay structure adjustments to align with the market,” Ramos said. “We have to have strong starting salaries and take care of our teachers. They are doing a great job.”

Market districts compared to HISD included Austin, Bastrop, Del Valle, Elgin, Georgetown, Leander, Lockhart, Manor, Pflugerville, Round Rock and Taylor ISDs.

Before general pay increases were approved to maintain market position, Hutto lagged slightly in the local market median in some categories.

Pay in HISD for teachers is broken down into five categories:

·      0 years: $44,325

·      5 years: $46,225

·      10 years: $48,725

·      15 years: $51,225

·      20 years: $53,725

According to the National Education Association’s 2014 statistics—the latest year data is available—Texas had the highest number of school districts in the country with 1,219 and the second highest number of public school students at 5,215,342. But Texas teachers were 30th in the U.S. when it comes to average pay at $52,653 annually. New York is the highest at $78,835 and South Dakota is the lowest at $41,649. The average is $58,525.

Killian, it was announced this week, will leave HISD after seven years to become superintendent of PfISD. After naming him as the lone finalist for the position, PfISD will wait the mandatory three weeks before presenting a contract offer.

At the meeting, Killian said he’s excited about the opportunity at Pflugerville’s district, but will miss the staff and students of Hutto.

The HISD board of trustees is slated to pass its 2017-18 budget sometime this summer.