Local teachers could see pay increase with proposed plans

(KWTX) For hundreds of public school teachers and staff across Central Texas, the start of the new school year could bring some added money to their paychecks.

On Thursday, Killeen ISD announced its compensation package with increases for every employee.

“This is ultimately all about benefiting students. This is why we’re proposing this compensation,” Superintendent Dr. John Craft said.

Craft says the district stands to remain competitive across the area.

“Approximately 70.8 percent of what we’re proposing, which is $16.8 million, is going to be directly applied to our classrooms. That includes increasing our teacher salaries, from $47,000 to $50,300,” Craft said.

Across the Killeen ISD, the proposed plan also includes an eight percent increase for bus drivers and six percent for auxiliary staff.

In addition to the pay raise, employees who elect health insurance will also see $400 a month contribution from the district.

The district says with the compensation plan under House Bill 3, district maintenance and operation property tax rate will be reduced from $1.04 to $0.97.

Educators across the area will see an increase from their salary last year, with raises coming in between 2.5 and 10 percent.

With the added increase, can it be sustained?

“(It’s) very, very difficult to undo any type of compensation increase. Not to say it’s impossible, but it’s very difficult,” Craft said.

“As of right now, the conversations I’ve been part of, it looks to be sustainable and that’s the intent of the legislators.”

The Killeen Educators Association responded to the proposed compensation plan from KISD with their own concerns.

“We appreciate the hard work done by the district, but remain concerned on several key areas of the proposal. Until those concerns are resolved we cannot fully support this compensation plan,” Rick Beaule, president of the Killeen Educators Association, said in a press release.

He says the association is concerned that employees, such as auxiliary staff, are still not being paid enough. According to the association, other concerns include longevity of the compensation and no change in healthcare premium.

Both Killeen and Waco school districts will meet within the coming weeks to vote on a decision. Midway and Belton ISD’s have approved their compensation plans.

In a statement, Temple ISD says it is still preparing their own plan.

“We are still in the process of preparing our compensation package for the upcoming school year,” said Christian Hernandez, director of communications of Temple ISD. “The district is carefully studying existing compensation schedules of comparable school districts across the state as part of this process.”

“District administration is carefully considering staff salaries and anticipates a compensation package that will far exceed the mandatory legislative requirement,” said Bobby Ott, superintendent of Temple ISD.

Proposed salaries for area teachers

Killeen ISD: $50,300 (starting)
6.6 percent to 10 percent pay increase for teachers. Pay increase for bus drivers has been proposed for 8 percent, 6 percent for auxiliary staff, 4.5 percent for librarians, counselors, nurses and 3.5 percent for other employees.

Belton ISD: $50,200 (starting)
Average salary increase of 6.5 percent for teachers. Paraprofessional and auxiliary employees, such as custodians and school nutrition workers, will receive a 6 percent increase on the midpoint of their salary. Other professional and administrative employees will receive a 4 percent increase on the midpoint of their salary.

Waco ISD: $48,000 (starting)
Waco ISD has proposed an average salary increase of 6.4 percent for teachers, librarians and nurses; a 6 percent increase for counselors; a 4 percent increase for auxiliary staff; a 4 percent increase for paraprofessional staff; and a 3 percent increase for professional staff and administrators.

Copperas Cove ISD: $47,500 (starting)
Annual general increase of 4 percent, or an average of $2,300, for teachers with 0-5 years of experience. Increase of 5 percent, or an average of $2,900, for teachers with 6 or more years of experience. Annual increase of 3 percent of midpoint for all other employees

Midway ISD: $45,500 (starting)
Raises range from 2.5 to 4 percent depending on job description and years of experience. MISD is increasing medical insurance compensation benefits to $378 per month.