Some Waco area teachers will receive the coveted $5,000 raise Gov. Greg Abbott proposed at the beginning of this year’s legislative session, but most will not, according to preliminary figures provided by the school districts.

House Bill 3 devoted $11.6 billion to school finance reform, with about $6.5 billion in new public education spending and approximately $5.1 billion dedicated to lowering residents’ property tax bills, the Texas Tribune reported.

The measure includes money for teacher raises and funding for free full-day pre-K for eligible 4-year-olds. It also decreases the amount of money wealthy districts must spend to subsidize poor districts through the state’s recapture program, known as “Robin Hood,” according to the Texas Tribune.

Under House Bill 3, districts and open enrollment charter schools must increase salaries for full-time staff other than administrators. Of the funds they receive, 30% must go toward these raises, and 75% of those funds must go toward raises for teachers, librarians, nurses and counselors.

Six out of 10 independent school districts responded to the Tribune-Herald’s request for proposed teacher salary raises. The others — McGregor ISD, West ISD, Marlin ISD and Robinson ISD — either did not respond or said their numbers were not ready.

School districts may choose to begin their fiscal years either on July 1 or Sept. 1, but most in the Waco area start on Sept. 1 and have not approved their budgets for the 2019-2020 school year.

According to the Texas Tribune, an average Texas teacher’s salary was $53,334 for the 2017-2018 school year, and teachers had an average of 10.9 years of experience on the job.

China Spring ISD

Superintendent Marc Faulkner is probably one of a few Texas superintendents able to offer the $5,000 raise the governor initially promised teachers.

The average raise for teachers in China Spring would be between $4,500 and $5,000, if the board of trustees approves the budget recommendations this month, he said.

For example, a teacher with 10 years of experience made $46,158 this past school year. This school year a teacher with the same amount of experience would make $50,008, under the current budget proposal.

Faulkner said the district fared well under House Bill 3, receiving an additional $1.4 million in state revenue. Most of that, $1.2 million, will go toward salary raises.

China Spring ISD’s starting salary will go up to $40,000 under the current budget proposal, up from $35,954 last school year.

Faulkner said he is grateful the district is able to offer such significant raises so the growing school district can remain competitive and attract quality teachers, which is always a challenge.

Aides in the district also will receive a $2,000 raise, he said, and hourly employees will receive a $1 per hour increase.

Lorena ISD

Superintendent Joe Kucera plans to offer teachers in the Lorena school district a salary increase between $3,550 and $5,000, depending on their years of service.

Like China Spring, House Bill 3 will allow the Lorena Independent School District to offer significant raises close to what the governor promised. Of the new money the district will receive from the state, 52% will go toward raises, if the board of trustees approves the budget recommendations this month.

Lorena ISD teachers will receive on average an 8.9% salary increase, Kucera said in an email.

The district’s new starting salary would be $40,000, up from $36,450 last school year.

Meanwhile, the district is proposing a 6% raise for paraprofessionals, instructional support staff, food service, maintenance, and custodial staff, and a 4% raise for professional and administrative staff.

Waco ISD

Waco Independent School District teachers on average can expect to receive a 6.4% salary increase next school year, in accordance with the newly passed state school finance reform bill, according to the district’s proposed budget.

Under current the budget proposal, most of the district’s teachers — 95 with one year of teaching experience — would receive a 5.2% raise, or an additional $1,900 a year. That bumps up their salary from $46,600 to $48,500.

Waco ISD’s new starting salary for 2019-20 would be $48,000, up from $46,100.

The highest proposed salary increase goes to teachers with six years of experience. They would receive a 7.5% hike, or an extra $3,200 a year. About 49 teachers would receive that pay raise.

Teachers with 27 or more years of experience would receive a salary increase of 5.8%, or $2,800 more a year. There are 90 teachers in that group.

Additionally, the district will provide administrators with a 3% salary hike, costing Waco ISD $320,802.

The total cost of the proposed salary increases is about $5 million.

Midway ISD

District Chief Financial Officer Wesley Brooks said the district is proposing to devote $928,981 to raises for teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses, surpassing the required $737,830 the district must spend on raises under the new law.

Teachers with 11 or more years of experience would receive the greatest raise of 3.5% under Midway’s current budget proposal. Most Midway ISD teachers — 163 — fall into this category, with 11 to 20 years of experience.

Teachers with 15 years of experience made $51,957 this past school year, according to last year’s salary schedule. With the proposed salary increase, their salary would increase to $53,776 for the 2019-2020 school year.

“Teachers from zero to five years are a different category there because another provision of House Bill 3 is that we’re supposed to prioritize experienced teachers with over five years of experience,” Brooks said.

Additionally, Midway is proposing a 2.5% salary increase for teachers with one to five years of experience, as well as administrators and professional staff. Teachers with six to 10 years of experience would receive a 3% salary increase, and support and auxiliary staff would receive a 4% raise.

Superintendent George Kazanas said the support staff raise is intended to prevent turnover and to keep Midway competitive with other school districts.

The total cost of raises under Midway’s current budget proposal is $1.5 million.

McGregor ISD

McGregor Independent School District did not provide the Tribune-Herald with preliminary budget figures, but a 2019-2020 salary schedule is posted on its website.

The new starting salary is $35,830, under the current proposal. The district also plans to offer stipends of $1,500 for teachers with a master’s degree and $2,000 for those with a doctoral degree. Other stipends are available for “hard-to-fill areas and extra duty assignments,” according to the 2019-2020 salary schedule on the district’s website.

Connally ISD

District Human Resource Officer Larry Cumby said Connally Independent School District plans to provide salary raises ranging from 3% to 5%, but he did not provide any specific numbers.

La Vega ISD

The school district is close to offering the $5,000 the legislature initially considered. The new starting salary for La Vega Independent School District teachers this school year will be $45,000, up from $41,888.

Last year, a teacher with six years of experience made $45,488. This year, that salary increases by $4,200, to $49,688 for teachers with six years of experience.

Proposed teacher starting salaries for 2019-2020 school year

District 2018-19 starting salary New starting salary
China Spring $35,954 $40,000
La Vega $41,888 $45,000
Lorena $36,450 $40,000
McGregor n/a $35,830
Midway $45,000 $45,500
Waco $46,100 $48,000
State minimum $28,080 $33,660

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Brooke Crum joined the Tribune-Herald as the education reporter in January 2019. She has worked for the Springfield News-Leader in Missouri, Abilene Reporter-News, Beaumont Enterprise and the Port Arthur News. Crum graduated from TCU in Fort Worth.

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