Employees of the San Antonio Independent School District will see a bit more in their paycheck next school year.
Trustees approved raises for all employees Monday evening as part of the district’s 2019-2020 budget.
Most employees will see a 3% increase. That means a teacher who made $55,000 in the 2018-2019 school year will make $56,650 in the 2019-2020 school year.
Teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses and instructional coaches with more than six years experience will receive slightly more — 3.5%. Trustees also approved raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Members of the teachers union requested twice as much, but district officials said there’s not enough room in the budget right now.
The raises will cost San Antonio ISD $17.1 million — more than half of the $32 million net increase in revenue the district expects to receive under the new school finance reform law.
SAISD would have faced a nearly $16 million budget deficit if lawmakers hadn’t approved the boost in state funding for schools.
Last year SAISD laid off 163 employees because of a budget deficit caused by declining enrollment. The 2019-2020 budget is based on projections of either flat enrollment or a slight increase in the number of students.
Trustees pushed Superintendent Pedro Martinez to come up with a plan to make sure that projection becomes a reality. If enrollment declines, the budget approved Monday will fall short of revenue.
“I’d like to know how my schools are doing [on enrollment] — whether I need to spend July knocking on doors,” said trustee Christina Martinez. “I don’t want the first day of school to come around and go ‘Oh, we tried.’”
“My fear is that our entire budget is based on a projected increase in enrollment,” trustee Steve Lecholop said.
Superintendent Martinez acknowledged that it was a risk, but said the district was working with the teacher union to knock on doors and encourage parents to register.
“One of the reasons we’re projecting a stable, or slightly above, enrollment is because this is the first time our option seats match the charter seats,” Superintendent Martinez said.
“Registrations are up from last year, but again there’s no guarantee until the end of summer.”
District officials also said that they’re spending $2.2 million more on teacher compensation than required under the new school finance law.
SAISD is also increasing its share of employer health insurance and paying into the state’s teacher retirement system. The law requires districts to use at least 30% of its new funding to boost compensation, including benefits.
Trustees also approved more funding for dual credit, extra-curricular activities and a technology infrastructure overhaul at seven schools. SAISD plans to expand the district’s entire technology infrastructure over the next few years.
Teachers in the Boerne school district will get a minimum $2,600 raise next school year. Trustees approved an average 6 % for teachers and a 4.5 % raise for other staff Monday.
Even though it's twice the raise San Antonio ISD approved for its teachers Monday night, SAISD teachers are still paid more. Starting pay at Boerne ISD is almost $4,000 below starting pay at SAISD.
North East ISD is also expected to approve teacher raises when they consider their new budget on Thursday. Texas school districts can either start their budget year in July or September.
Camille Phillips can be reached at Camille@tpr.org or on Twitter @cmpcamille.