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Judson ISD approves a 6% raise for teachers and support personnel

Sean Locke

The board of trustees for the Judson Independent School District voted Thursday to give teachers and support personnel a 6% midpoint raise next school year. Professional staff will receive a 4% midpoint raise.

The raises will bring a first-year teacher’s salary to $57,362 and add $3,650 to every teacher’s salary. Midpoint raises are calculated based on the midpoint of salary ranges to maintain the pay scale. Everyone in the same job category receives the same amount.

The district also plans to use federal ESSER grants to offer one-time incentives. With those incentives, teachers will take home an additional $4,650 next school year. Bus drivers will take home an additional $3,300. Congress passed temporary ESSER funding to help schools recover from the pandemic.

Before the unanimous vote Thursday, Superintendent Jeanette Ball said the board would make history by approving such a large raise.

“What we're proposing tonight is probably one of the biggest raises that Judson has ever done and certainly one of the biggest in Bexar County at this point,” Ball said.

Three days earlier, San Antonio ISD’s trustees approved a 3% raise for teachers and support personnel against the advice of their new superintendent. Jaime Aquino had recommended trustees limit the raise to 2% because next year’s proposed budget has a $28 million deficit.

Judson’s proposed budget has a $22 million deficit. But in other ways their financial outlook is very different.

Despite the pandemic, Judson’s enrollment has grown by more than 1,600 students since 2019. SAISD has lost more than 4,000 students. SAISD’s attendance rate has also dipped to 87%, lowering the amount of money the district gets from the state per student.

And, according to Judson and SAISD budget documents, both districts have a fund balance of around $106 million, even though SAISD has twice as many students —and therefore twice the expenses. Districts are expected to have at least enough money in their fund balance to pay for three months expenses at all times.

“As they say in my household, ‘Cuando se puede, se puede,’” said Judson ISD trustee Rafael Diaz Martinez before approving the raise Thursday.

“When you can do it, you do it,” translated his fellow trustee, Jennifer Rodriguez.

“And this year, we can do it. And that's great, because we're in unprecedented times where things are very difficult,” Diaz Martinez said to employees. “So please know that your work is valued, you're valued as people, as individuals. Pero el año que no se pueda — the year that we cannot, doesn’t mean (we value you) any less.”

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