Waco ISD gives teachers a boost in pay for unprecedented school year ahead

Published: Jul. 18, 2020 at 12:34 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The Waco Independent School District is giving employees a little extra cash to work during the upcoming school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Although the pandemic has created a great deal of uncertainty about next year's budget, the board was clear that they wanted to recognize the hard work of our employees - especially during our present public health crisis," said Dr. Susan Kincannon, Waco ISD Superintendent.

As part of the WISD’s 2020-2021 compensation plan, during Thursday night’s specially called school board meeting, trustees approved an annual $550 raise for teachers and a 1% salary increase for all other employee groups (based on the midpoint of each pay grade).

"Our school board members truly appreciate everything that our employees do to make a difference in the lives of our students," said Kincannon.

The move pushes the annual starting salary for teachers to $49,100.

New teacher Sara Neumann said she was surprised, but thankful.

"It's just nice knowing that teachers have support from our district and they're doing what they can to help us through this difficult time," said Neumann.

In May, Neumann graduated from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas with a degree in elementary education and returned home to begin her teaching career.

"With all these uncertain times, it was comforting knowing that I'd be surrounded by my community," said Neumann.

It's uncertain exactly what's in store for teachers in the WISD, and across the state, as district work under guidelines set forth by the Texas Education Agency to reopen schools in the Fall.

WISD is proposing in-person and at-home learning options for students, which means some teachers may have to teach on-campus while following (and enforcing) safety mandates, and other may have to do virtual instruction, or both.

Kincannon says they have enough teachers, but student preferences will determine how many will be assigned to in-person or remote instruction.

She says right now they're waiting on parents to finish registering their children and pick which path to start them out on.

Neumann, who will be teaching kindergarten at Mountainview Elementary School, says she's up to the challenge.

“This upcoming school year is a little challenging, makes me a little anxious and nervous, but i know it will be a great learning experience and I will become a stronger teacher through it,” said Neumann. “No matter what--teaching is still teaching, and I love being with the kids, and whether that’s online or in-person, I’m excited and eager to get started.”

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