Competitive teacher pay district top priority; new magnet formula focused on equity
The HISD Board of Education was presented with a budget proposal for 2014-2015 on Thursday that increases teacher pay and improves equity and increases transparency in how the district’s magnet programs are funded.
The proposal, which needs board approval, is an update to an original plan that was presented in late April. It calls for changes to the magnet program funding formula. Schools would receive per-pupil funding based on their level and theme. Additionally, each school would receive a magnet coordinator regardless of their funding levels and transportation for students. The district’s 15 Vanguard programs would receive $410 per-pupil in addition to the $406 for each gifted and talented student as a result of the weighted student funding formula.
|Magnet Program Theme||Elementary Schools||Middle Schools||High Schools|
|Medical Careers Program||$200||$1100|
|Criminal Justice Program||$500|
|Other Career Program||$50|
|All Other Programs||$100||$100||$100|
|*In addition to the proposed $410 per-pupil allocation for students in magnet Vanguard programs, Vanguard students would receive about $406 per student via the G/T weighted student funding formula.|
According to HISD Superintendent Terry Grier a change in the formula is much needed. “Our proposed magnet funding formula is focused on increasing equity across all of our magnet and specialty schools. This change allows us ensure that each magnet and specialty program has the ability to succeed, allowing us to offer more students access to programs that focus on their interests,” Grier said.
If approved, the new funding formula will be phased in over the next two years. During the 2014- 2015 school year, schools that expect a shortfall in their funding will only see 25 percent of the reduction. Likewise, programs receiving an increase in their magnet funding will only see 25 percent of the increase go into effect next school year. The new funding will be fully phased in by the 2015-2016 school year.
Board trustees also received a recommendation to increase pay for entry level teachers from $46,805 to $48,400, to improve HISD’s ability to compete with neighboring districts and attract candidates from other markets. The change creates a new salary schedule and eliminates master’s and doctoral salary adjustments for new hires. The district expects the change will cost about $20 million.
“This budget proposal includes several major priorities for the district,” Chief Financial Officer Ken Huewitt said. “Competitive teacher pay is at the top of the list to ensure that we are able to attract and retain the best teachers for our students.”
The Board of Education will continue to discuss the proposed budget in several upcoming public meetings before adopting a budget on June 19.