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Noting 'Good Work' Of School Staff, Austin ISD Superintendent Proposes Across-The-Board Pay Raises

Gabriel C. Pérez

The Austin Independent School District wants to give 7% raises to teachers with five or more years of experience and a 6% raise to all other staff, Superintendent Paul Cruz announced Thursday. Staff includes cafeteria workers and bus drivers, in addition to principals and administrative workers.

“We do notice the good work our teachers and our principals do every single day,” Cruz said at a press conference.

Before the end of the legislative session, the district was prepared to give only a 1% raise to teachers and no raise to support staff. Education Austin, the union for AISD employees, pushed back and demanded a 10% raise for everyone.

Once Gov. Greg Abbott signed the school finance bill into law,which included staff compensation, Cruz said the district was able to increase those raises.

“We are going to invest around $48 million in employee compensation," he said. "Where the state requirement was $21 million, we are more than doubling that amount to truly recognize our staff members for the great work they do every single day.”

While the raises are included in the budget that applies for the next two fiscal years, Cruz says this new pay level will be permanent.

AISD Board President Geronimo Rodriguez said he supports the raises because every AISD employee is an educator.

“It’s an investment in our most important resource: our people,” he said. “In order to do that, every single AISD employee needs to know that they are part of these efforts, from the cafeteria workers making sure our children are fed, to the reading specialist who provides additional time to students who need it to succeed, to our principals who provide campus leadership.”

The budget also includes increasing the stipend for bilingual teachers, who will get $1,000 more a year, and stipends for special education teachers, who will receive $500 more a year.

It also raises the starting salary for a teacher. Right now, the average salary for a teacher with five years' experience is around $50,000. These raises would increase that average to around $60,000.

The raises will go into effect July 1 if the school board approves the budget at its meeting Monday night.

Claire McInerny is a former education reporter for KUT.
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