MINEOLA, Texas — Over the last few weeks, school districts across East Texas and the state announced a number of pay raises for teachers and other school staff.
"We were really excited when the legislature made a step forward in providing additional resources to school districts in public school refinance," Mineola ISD Superintendent Kim Tunnel said.
Mineola ISD recently approved pay raises for the district's teachers beginning in the upcoming 2019-2020 school year. The raises allow teachers in the district to make well-above the state requirement.
"We’ve never believed in just being minimum," MISD school board president John Abbott said. "We expect so much of our teachers and we don’t expect them to do a minimal job, and we wanted to say we appreciate what you do and we want to reward that."
Abbott says while pay is only one factor in the retention and recruitment of teachers, he knows it matters. Abbott says it was important to the school board and administrators to ensure the district would be able to sustain the approved raises for staff in coming years.
“For our teachers with zero to four years of experience, the minimum they will receive is $3,000 pay increase," said Tunnell. "Then, there’s teachers five to twenty years plus will receive $3,6000 minimum."
Also, teachers with the district will also receive a $2,000 stipend to obtain a master's degree.
The increases are a direct result of the additional funding for Texas schools made possible with the passing of House Bill 3 in June.
The state mandated Mineola ISD to designate 30% of its additional funding to raises. For its 140 teachers, that equates to about $337,000.
Instead, the board decided to approve over $460,000 in raises, which increases salary for beginning teachers to $38,700.
"We hold our own in Wood County," said Tunnell. "Due to our size, it's difficult to compete with larger districts, but the board has always made a commitment to be competitive."
For the last several years, the Tyler Independent School District has given annual raises of $1,500 to teachers.
"In Tyler ISD, our school board adopted a compensation plan that said zero to five years of experience, you receive $2,500 as far as a boost goes. From six to 20 years, you receive $4,000 in a boost, and then after that, $3,000," Tyler ISD Superintendent Marty Crawford.
Crawford says while grateful the increase, he knows many of the teachers in his district were expecting a little more than what's coming next school year.
"I’m not the politician who made the promise of $5,000 or even $10,000 across the board raises," Crawford explained. "We live by the law of the legislature. The good news on that is I think we were required to spend $2.6 million in raises to our staff. Our school board saw it fit to actually spend $6 million in raises for our staff."
By comparison, Longview ISD's school board is set to approve $8 million in staff raises. As a result, the starting teacher salary in the district will be $47,000, an almost 17% increase.
The board will vote on the proposal during the Aug. 28 board meeting.
Meanwhile, Overton ISD Superintendent Stephan Dubose says the district recently approved an average of 14% raises for teachers.
This increases its beginner teacher salary to $35,390 and tops its scale so that a teacher with 31 or more years experience will make $65,450.
The district's total budget for aides, maintenance, secretarial and teachers is $405,375.
"While it's not as much as they [teachers] deserve, it's [pay raises] definitely a step in the right direction and only one of the pieces that goes into creating that supportive environment," Superintendent Tunnell said.
Check the links below to glance at other pay raises in the East Texas region: