Veteran teachers are facing pay cuts if the proposed compensation schedule is passed by Houston Independent School District (HISD) Board of Education. This comes after teachers have signed their contracts for the new year.
HISD approved a budget of $2 billion for 2018–2019. Last year, teachers received a two to four percent raise based on experience, based on their “step plan” for accruing another year of teacher experience. If the same were applied for this year, 0.3%, $6 million, of the $2 billion budget, would be used to compensate veteran teachers.
The board members can amend the compensation manual which will be in front of them Thursday, Aug. 9, and there’s plenty of money in the adopted budget to do that.
There are 12,000 teachers in HISD making up the largest employee group of the district.
In a memorandum from former superintendent, Richard Carranza, to board members in February 2017, the teacher turnover rate was 11.7 percent, “with the highest-performing teachers reporting that they did not intend to stay with HISD longer than their lower performing peers.”
What about the money saved from teachers who have left the district? If teachers leave the district, that creates a “fall out” that puts money back in the budget to make up for other things that may have gone over budget.
This “fall out” money was not taken into consideration in this week’s board meeting.
“At the end of the year, let’s say they’ll actually spend only $590 million instead of the budgeted $600 million,” Ben Becker, with HISD Parent Advocates, said.
“Because all those $55,000 teachers get replaced with $52,000 teachers and all those three thousands fall to the bottom and you end up with five million or ten million dollars left over.”
Money saved from the teachers who have left could be used for the teachers who are staying, but instead of using the money saved for teachers they are going to put it back in their budget.
Here’s the kicker: there’s no one on the board or in administration are running numbers on these stats. No one is actually analyzing the budget.
Where are all the statisticians? They’re in the testing departments.
Most argue that this is not a “pay cut,” it is a “pay freeze,” and it is worded as such in the board meeting.
“Whatever word usage people want use is up to them, but teachers earned their steps. They should be compensated,” Trustee Elizabeth Santos, District I, said. “They expected their pay for a service rendered and didn’t get it. That’s a cut to me.”
Meanwhile, there has been an increase in new administrative positions for the district. There isn’t enough money to give teachers a small raise for their experience, but there is money to create new administrative positions.
There’s a $120 million more coming in next year than last year because of property taxes. This means there’s $120 million more coming into the budget. However, Trustee Jolanda Jones, First Vice President, District IV, says it’s the recapture payment that is hurting the school’s budget. Not true.
Recapture payment last year: $268,986,857
Recapture payment this year: $272,492,039
That’s a $3.5 million difference. With $120 million coming into the budget due to property taxes, $3.5 million going to recapture is not breaking the bank.
The next meeting is Aug. 9. You can review the agenda here.