Pay raises on the way at Natalia ISD

The Natalia ISD School Board approved base pay increases for teachers beginning with the 2019-2020 school year at a Special meeting held Monday, June 24.
The move is in accordance with House Bill 3, the $11.6 million school finance and property tax reform legislation passed by the State earlier this summer that increased public school funding and mandated pay raises for teachers and certain other district employees.
“I am really excited that thanks to much-needed financial relief from House Bill 3, we were able to give our staff significant pay raises,” Board President Eric Smith said.
HB 3 mandated that at least 30 percent of a district’s funding increase be used for pay raises for full-time employees who are not administrators, with 75 percent of that dedicated to full-time teachers, librarians, counselors, and nurses.
Business Manager Paul Michels said that based on Texas Education Agency (TEA) guidance provided as of June 11, Natalia ISD stands to see a revenue increase of $960,280, meaning that the district is legally required to increase salaries by at least $290,853 for the upcoming school year.
“We chose to go one step further and give every single employee in the district a much-needed, healthy raise,” Smith said.
The Board approved a 4.1 percent pay increase for classroom teachers with fewer than five years of experience a 4.51 percent increase for veteran teachers at an approximate cost of $230,190; an auxiliary staff increase of 4.1 percent for an estimated $76,730; and administrative staff increase of 4.1 percent for an estimated $42,157, for a total of $349,077.
Additionally, the Board approved a four percent pay raise for Superintendent Dr. Hensley Cone, adding $5,600 to his yearly base salary of $140,000. Cone has not received a pay raise since coming to the district in August 2017.
The pay raises do not include an increase in benefits.
“This has been one of the most stressful and highest-stakes school years in the history of the district,” Smith said of the year that has been spent under the guidance of TEA conservator Dr. Sharon Doughty. “With the high level of expectations and stress, many folks would have walked away. Our staff rolled up their sleeves and came together as a team for our kids, and really raised the bar academically.”
In order to remain competitive with surrounding districts, the Board also increased annual stipend pay for teachers with a Master’s degree in qualifying subject matters to $1,000; high school and junior high Student Council sponsor to $500; and assistant powerlifting coach to $2,000.
The stipend for dual credit courses per semester was also increased to $1,500.
Smith expressed confidence in the investment in teachers and personnel.
“I believe when final [STAAR] results and [TEA] ratings are tallied, folks will be proud of our district,” Smith said. “Giving a raise was the least we could do to say thank you.”
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer