Seguin ISD employees will see an increase in their wallets this coming school year.
The Seguin ISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Tuesday during the regular school board meeting to boost the salaries of all district staff well above the requirements of House Bill 3.
Through the new legislation, the district is required to use 30% of additional state funding on wages — 75% of that for classroom teachers and 25% for all other staff.
“I just want to thank you for your support on this,” Seguin ISD Superintendent Matthew Gutierrez said following the vote of approval. “Our teachers are going to be ever so grateful for this historic increase and it certainly, our teachers and our staff are our greatest investment. Our teachers and all other staff are going to benefit greatly.”
Additionally, Gutierrez said the approval on Tuesday night sends the message to the district’s employees that the board and administration values the work they do daily.
“We’re looking at anywhere from 5% upwards to 7%, but when you calculate the increase to the employee benefits contribution in addition to the $200 supplemental pay in September for classroom teachers, it can get anywhere closer to 9%,” he said.
A competitive boost for teachers
Under the recommendation of district staff, the board approved tiered increases in the pay scale that range from 5.02% to 6.94%, as well as a $2,000 boost in new teacher salary from $49,000 to $51,000, making the district the most competitive out of all the area schools, SISD assistant superintendent of human resources Dot Whitman said.
“We studied very intensely the teacher pay scale to see where we could be most competitive,” she said. “We felt we needed to tier some of our steps on the teacher pay scale which is a common practice among other districts.”
The recommendation included increasing the pay scale by $2,500 for staff with one to five years of experience, $3,500 for six to 25 years and $3,750 for 26 years or more.
“Almost a 7% raise for a lot of teachers, that is huge compared to where we’ve been in the past,” Whitman said. “We have been 2% sometimes even 1%, 3% if we got lucky. This is a big deal. These same steps will match the masters pay scale and the counselor’s.”
The approved increases will put Seguin ISD at the top of the list in comparison to several area schools, including Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City, New Braunfels, Comal, Marion, Navarro and San Marcos.
In previous years, the district ranked in the lower half of the comparisons. However, this year, they are at the very top.
“With this recommendation, right now, we would be No. 1 at zero years along with New Braunfels,” Whitman said. “We would be the top two paying districts at the entry pay scale, and we have never, ever been at No. 1. At year 5, we would be ranked third behind Schertz and New Braunfels. We’ve never competed with Schertz-Cibolo. At the 10-year mark, we would be second behind Schertz. And then at year 15, second and at 20 we would be third.”
Bringing the pay scale up and into the competitive arena is a leg up for the district in helping to recruit and retain faculty and staff, Gutierrez said.
Educators are also poised to receive a one-time stipend of $200 to put toward their classroom.
“We’re looking at the one time stipend pay for classroom teachers in the month of September just to help offset those volunteer costs they choose to make their classrooms,” Whitman said.
Pay increases across the board
In keeping the competitive edge, staff recommended paraprofessionals and auxiliary staff receive $1 an hour bump in pay — an average increase of 5.83%
That includes paraprofessionals, clerical, auxiliary, child nutrition and transportation.
“That may not sound like a lot, but when you’re looking at what a bus driver makes an hour and if we’re going from $14 to $15 on the starting pay,” Whitman said.
Campus administrators are set to see a 4% increase across the board, while all other professional employees will get a 3.5% raise.
The recommendation also included increasing the district’s contribution to the employee’s insurance by $53 a month.
The recommendations that came before the board were from discussion’s the superintendent and his leadership team held, Whitman said.
“This SLT team sat in the back for hours with the superintendent and we had some pretty brutal discussions … but we came together to focus on our employees and what is best,” she said.
The motion to approve the salary increases as recommended came from Trustee Linda Duncan with a second by Trustee Glenda Moreno.
While the board approved the measure Tuesday night, the increases will not take effect until September.