School districts will be receiving millions of dollars in additional money and teachers will be receiving raises in the coming school year following the passage of House Bill 3 during the 86th Texas Legislature.
One of the biggest pieces of the new law — an $11.5 billion school finance reform package — is its increase in the basic allotment provided to all school districts. In the 2019-2020 school year, districts will receive $6,160 per student in basic allotment — the starting point in determining a district’s funding — which is a $1,020 increase over what districts received for the current school year.
With the governor-signed House Bill 2 tax reform law, school districts also will be using compressed tax rates. That means taxpayers will see lower tax rates in the coming year; for instance, a tax rate that would have been $1 in the current tax year will be $0.93 in the 2020 fiscal year.
Although this means less local property tax revenue, Bryan ISD assistant superintendent of business services Kevin Beesaw said, that loss is offset by the increased state funding with the increased basic allotment, new and expanded allotments and a switch to using regularly updated census blocking — geo-coding by ZIP code — to determine student need instead of using returned free and reduced lunch forms.
Bryan and College Station school boards both unanimously approved respective updated salary and compensation recommendations reflecting the changes, while the Navasota school district will be starting the process of adjusting the salary structure this month.
House Bill 3 does not have the same effect on every school district, Beesaw said, and the law translates into different amounts of increased funding for different districts.
For the Bryan school district, House Bill 3 means an additional $11.2 million, Beesaw said.
The new law translates to an additional $5.2 million for the College Station school district, College Station Chief Financial Officer Mike Martindale said.
For all school districts throughout the state, though, the new law requires 30% of the additional money go toward non-administrative salaries. Of that 30%, 75% must go to teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians and 25% to other non-administrative full-time employees.
Beesaw, College Station Superintendent Clark Ealy and Musick all commended the legislators for working together to make the law a reality.
“House Bill 3 is not perfect, but it marks a significant step forward in taking care of Texas school children now and into the future and at the same time providing some meaningful property tax reduction for property owners across the State of Texas,” Ealy said.
For BISD, this means $2.52 million will go toward the teacher group and $840,000 more going toward other full-time non-administrative employees.
Salary adjustments for teachers will see a yearly increase ranging from $2,025 for new teachers to $9,000 for the most veteran teachers.
Auxiliary employees — custodial, nutrition, bus aides and drivers — will see an increase of 10% from the midpoint with bus drivers’ hourly rates starting at $18 per hour.
Special education instructional aides will receive a 6% increase from the midpoint. Then, administrators and professionals will receive a 3% increase from the midpoint.
In CSISD, $1.17 million will go to the group including teachers and $390,000 to other full-time non-administrative employees.
In total, the College Station school board approved $3.8 million in proposed compensation changes.
Teachers with up to five years of experience will receive an increase of between 3.6% and 4.5% from the midpoint, which is an increase of between $1,800 and $2,500 yearly.
Teachers with six years of experience and more will receive an increase of between 5.1% and 5.6% of the midpoint, or between $2,550 and $2,800 yearly, Martindale said during the district’s Tuesday board meeting.
Paraprofessionals and auxiliary staff members will receive an increase of 4% from the midpoint, administrators with one-year contracts will receive 3% from the midpoint, and administrators with two-year contracts will receive an increase of 2% from the midpoint.
The district is also increasing its contribution to the employee-only high deductible insurance to $11 per month, so employees have one health insurance option without a premium.
Over the past week, Navasota Superintendent Stu Musick said district administrators have taken the district’s salary scales and put them alongside the minimum salary scale released from the Texas Education Agency to see how they compare.
“We know that for our teachers with seven-plus years of experience, those folks they’ll all be receiving pay raises because the minimum salary scale — the new one — is above what our Navasota ISD scale would have been previously,” he said. “Just moving up to meet the minimum salary scale from TEA, we know that those folks will be receiving raises.”
He continued saying the district “anticipates and looks forward” to including salaries for teachers and staff with funding provided by House Bill 3.
What the salary and compensation looks like for each teacher, though, is still being determined, he said, as the district will begin establishing those new pay scales and budget discussions next week.
Harmony Science Academy
Teachers at all 57 campuses in the Harmony Public Schools system, including Harmony Science Academy in Bryan, will be receiving a salary increase of between 7% and 17.5% next school year, according to a press release.
“In addition to a base salary increase of between $3,500 and $5,000, teachers will be awarded a stipend of $1,000 if they have between five and nine years classroom experience,” the release states. “Those with more than 10 years’ experience will receive $2,000. Instructors in the system’s core STEM curricula will receive an additional $3,000 stipend.”