Some special education teachers in the Austin Independent School District could see increased pay and stipends as soon as March, the district announced Tuesday.
Speech language pathologists, occupational therapists and other special education employees will also get increased annual stipends. To be more competitive, the district will also offer signing bonuses for special education teachers.
The announcement comes after months of speech language pathologists testifying before the school board about how difficult low pay and large caseloads have made their jobs.
"The workload in which a single AISD [speech language pathologist] must endure is that of two employees," Trish Ciccocioppo told the board in December. "I was rarely able to do the therapy for which I was hired without the assistance of a graduate student.”
Ciccocioppo is one of 29 special education teachers who have quit this school year.
Akweta Hickman, the head of the special education department, said these actions show the district values the department.
"Our special education faculty and staff play a vital role to the unlocking of the child's potential in every area of success," she said.
The raises will vary by position. The district didn’t have specific dollar amounts for them yet.
Correction: A previous version of this story suggested all special education teachers were receiving raises. Only certain teachers will get them.