AISD Board Discusses Tax Increase to Finance Staff Pay Raise
Teachers in Austin Independent School District have not received a raise since 2009, and some school board members are talking openly about the possibility of raising taxes to finance one. Such a tax rate increase would require approval of voters.
At a meeting last night, AISD chief financial officer Nicole Conley-Abram explained how the district still expects a shortfall of around $20 million next school year. She presented board members with some options under consideration, including a pay raise for staff, without specifying how much that pay raise could cost.
“Where were we going to get the money to do this?” Trustee Lori Moya asked.
Conley-Abram responded: “It’s hard to say right now,” adding that the severity of the district’s deficit will become clearer in December when they finish a financial forecast. “There are some opportunities. We’re just not in a place to say how we could fund [a teacher pay raise] at this point in time.”
Moya said she hopes “at least for the sake of conversation” that the idea of eliminating an extra teacher planning period to finance a pay raise “stays on the table.”
“At least for me, it’s so important to staff to give them a pay increase that we’re going to have to let go of something,” she said. “I just don’t know what that something is.”
School board member Rob Schneider, who tends to be more a somewhat more fiscally conservative trustee, urged district staff to consider all options before asking voters for a tax rate increase.
“I think at some point, we may have to pull that trigger, but I would really like to show we’ve done everything we can before we get to that point,” he said to Conley-Abram.
The Austin ISD currently charges property owners $1.242 per $100 of valuation. That amounts to $1,242 annually per $100,000 of home value.