The other day we had a conversation with an EPISD employee who works in a school, not the central office.
She indicated that her personal opinion was that the “teaching staff” should get a 10% pay raise.
School finance in Texas is very complicated.
From a local property tax perspective school districts are allowed to set two tax rates, one for operations and maintenance (O&M) and the other for debt service (interest and sinking fund).
EPISD essentially cannot set an O&M property tax rate above $1.17 per hundred dollars of property valuation.
EPISD has currently set their O&M rate at $1.07. At that rate their 2016-2017 budget anticipates bringing in $165,104,344 from the O&M portion. Raising the rate to the maximum of $1.17 would bring in another $15.4 million dollars.
Cost of raises
The district has approximately 4,000 teachers. The starting salary for a first year teacher is $44,900. We don’t know what the average salary is so we will do our computing using the lowest (least paid) pay rate.
A 10% increase would amount to $4,490 per teacher. The cost to the district would increase by more than that because of benefits, but we will leave that out of our cost computation. The raise of $4,490 multiplied by 4,000 teachers comes to $17.96 million dollars.
The district could only raise another $15.4 million in local property taxes and that would take facing a roll back election from the voters.
The district simply cannot raise taxes high enough to pay for a 10% teacher raise unless they cut costs elsewhere.
In this article last year the Times delivered more bad news for the teachers:
Trustees said the 1.5 percent raises were all the district could afford now, as student enrollment declines.
School districts receive state funding based on attendance, so fewer students means fewer dollars.
Unless the district cuts their other costs don’t look for big pay raises for the teachers.
We have a basic marketing question here.
Will parents choose to send their children to EPISD schools because of shiny new buildings or because of the quality of education offered?
We deserve better