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Grapeland ISD Employees Get Pay Hike

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – After years of bluster about how the pay for educators in the public school system should be increased, Texas legislators have finally put their money where their mouths were, giving teachers and staff a significant pay increase.

As budget season approaches for area school districts, the various school boards are putting together new salary schedules which many teachers and staff should find appealing. One such district is Grapeland ISD which made its preliminary 2019-2020 salary schedule public during a regularly scheduled school board meeting held on Monday, July 22.

“This should allow teachers to make a decent living,” GISD Superintendent Don Jackson said following the meeting.

During the 2018-2019 school year, the minimum salary for a first-year teacher at with no experience was $28,080. During the 2019-2020 school year, that same teacher with no experience will earn $33,660.

For teachers with 20 plus years of experience during the 2018-2019 school year, the minimum salary was $45,510. During the 2019-2020 school year, that same teacher with 20 plus years of experience will earn $54,540.

“Due to House Bill (HB) 3 – when you look at the new money we are getting from the state – the basic allotment went from $5,140 to $6,160. That’s the money we receive per child in our district. With this increase and with other increases, HB 3 said we had to take 30% of our new funding initiated by the 86th Texas Legislature, and we had to break in two. It said that 75% of that 30% must go to teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians,” Jackson said.

The other 25%, the superintendent explained, may go to support personnel.

“Our (GISD) 30% of the new money came out to $261,129. The state gave us a new salary schedule so we first had to figure how much of this $261,129 it would take for us to get to the new state minimums,” he continued.

In the 2018-2019 school year, GISD paid first-year teachers with no experience $32,256 and those who had 20 plus years of experience $49,686.

While GISD paid their teachers more than the 2018-2019 state minimum required, the new state minimum was higher than the current GISD rate.

“Last year, we paid the state minimum plus $4,176. We were above the state minimum last year and in previous years. The new state minimum, however, put our current rate of pay below the state minimum. Part of the $261,129 was to help catch us up to the present state minimum,” Jackson said.

That $261,129 had to be broken into the two parts of 75% and 25%, the superintendent explained. The 75% total was $195,846 while the 25% total was $65,282.

“Out of that $195,846, we used $134,500 to put everyone on the state minimum. That left us with a total $61,346. So, out of that $61,346, we were able to come up with an extra $2,000 above the state minimum.

The support staff at GISD will all receive a raise of $1,200.

The 2019-2020 budget is still a work in progress but as it becomes clearer, Jackson said the board will continue discussions about additional midyear incentives, end of year incentives and incentives for teachers, as well as staff, who instruct STAAR subjects.

“We didn’t want to jump out there too far and then have to pull back,” Jackson said. “What we are going to do is take a look at our 2019-2020 budget – I think it’s the safe thing to do – because all of our budget is based on projections.  We want to build our budget first and then go back to the table to see if there is anything else we can do for our teachers.”

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.