Trustees for the North East Independent School District approved a 3% raise for all employees Thursday evening. That’s about $1,600 more for a teacher that made $53,000 in the 2018-2019 school year.
Classroom teachers with more than five years experience also received additional incentives to comply with the state’s new school funding law.
Teachers with six to 15 years experience will receive an additional $600 a year on top of the 3% raise. Teachers with 16 or more years of experience will receive an additional $1,200.
Members of the teachers union requested that the district boost the raise to 7%.
“We’re North East. We need to step up and do more for our teachers,” said Kathleen Roark, a teacher at Roosevelt High School with 28 years experience. “It should be 7% across the board for everybody. That would be fair for custodians, for staff, for cafeteria workers. They barely make a living wage. I know I make a lot compared to them, but compared to other professions [with a master’s degree], I don’t.”
Roark said she still expects to make less than $60,000 a year next school year, even with the raise.
North East AFT Executive Director Tom Cummins read a list of districts he said were doing more for their teachers with the increased funding they expect to receive from the state, including Boerne and Austin.
Boerne approved a 6% raise on Monday, and San Antonio ISD also chose to give teachers with less than six years experience 3%. However, Boerne’s new starting salary is $49,600 while first year teachers at NEISD will make $53,000. Starting pay at SAISD will be $53,400.
Interim Superintendent Sean Maika said in a statement that the district couldn’t do more for its staff because there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the new school funding law.
“We strongly believe that our employees deserve this salary increase,” Maika said. “But we must also proceed cautiously because there is no guarantee from the state that this funding will be sustained over time.”
The law requires that 30% of the increase in funding districts receive go to compensation. North East is interpreting that to mean the increase from what the district received in 2018-2019, which would be $30.2 million.
Trustees allocated $14.5 million in the 2019-2020 budget for the boost in salaries.