Northside ISD will operate fiscal year 2022-23 with a $21.7 million compensation plan featuring a salary range midpoint raise of an average 2% for all employees and a 4% midpoint pay increase for auxiliary staff.

The school board unanimously approved the compensation package on June 28. According to district officials, the new hourly wage midpoint for nonauxiliary employees, such as teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses, is $20.14.

NISD is also increasing the starting pay for teachers with zero years experience by $915 to $57,590. Additionally, the district is adjusting salaries of special education aides, instructional assistants, campus bookkeepers and other select positions to keep pace with market rates.

NISD is increasing stipends for special education and for select areas within athletics and fine arts programs to remain competitive with comparable area school districts.

NISD substitute teacher pay rates will stay unchanged from the 2021-22 school year, district officials said.

Several district employees voiced disappointment with NISD’s pay plan, saying salaries are long overdue for significant increases and that many NISD workers are struggling to keep up with rising costs of living.

Wanda Longoria, NISD American Federation of Teachers president, said NISD’s average salaries have gone down 7.6% since 2009-10. She also said starting teacher pay has decreased 4.6% in the same timeframe. Additionally, central office administrative salaries have gone up nearly 5% in that period, Longoria said.

“Northside ISD has a higher cost of living than the state of Texas, on average, so it makes sense that NISD staff make more than the statewide average,” Longoria said.

Teacher Tracy Jordan said even though NISD is Texas’ fourth-biggest public school district by student enrollment, NISD has yet to offer significant pay raises.

“If we are truly the district of destination, I ask you to please consider a 4.5% raise for teachers and a starting pay living wage of $15 for support personnel,” Jordan told the board before the pay plan vote.

Superintendent Brian Woods said he understands employees’ frustration about salaries, but added that NISD faces in FY 2022-23 an even larger deficit budget than the one it used to fund operations during FY 2021-22. He also said the district does not expect much more state financial aid because of plateaued or dropping projected student enrollment.

“There is an issue of affordability. If we have to be able to afford these continuing costs, compensation is an ongoing cost. It must be budgeted not only for 2022-2023, but in future years,” Woods said.

The board also approved a $24 million-plus growth and improvement package for inclusion in the NISD’s FY 2022-23 budget. Among other things, the growth and improvement package will fund various positions at new campuses, including Sotomayor High School, district officials said.