AUSTIN -- The Austin Independent School District board of trustees passed a three-percent raise for all employees Monday evening. It's a one time payment that the board president said is vital if the district is to remain competititve.
As AISD board member hammered out the compensation portion for the upcoming school year, it was clear that in order to give all employees the raise, without cutting personnel and other costs, the board had to take more than $14 million from the district's reserve funds.
"When you compare us to other districts in Central Texas, we are already at a competitive disadvantage on pay," said AISD Board President Mark Williams. "We know we need to do something to retain our people because our Central Texas community continues to grow and our best teachers are continuing to be looked at by other districts as they continue to expand. "
Parents were torn between what teachers deserve and what the district can afford
"I think they should be paying them more," said Cheree Franklin. "Teachers are a big influence on our kids, so I think they should be giving them more than three percent."
"I am sure the teachers would like more, and they deserve more, but we have to work within the budget and that is just kind of the way it goes with that," said Jake Creswell.
Outside of the meeting, members of the Southwest Workers Union were not disputing a pay raise for teachers, but they disagreed with the board offering all employees the same raise.
"It is inequitable. There is a huge gap in those numbers," said union member Joaquin Abrego. "The administrators are going to be receiving about $2,000, in that range, whereas the cafeteria workers are probably going to be receiving $300."
"We are trying to find that right balance," said Williams. "It is is not perfect, but we think we have achieved a very reasonable compromise at this time."
There is a lot more still to discuss in the district's budget, including a possible tax hike referendum. The board won't vote on the full package until August.