Despite decreasing state funds, district continues to emphasize competitive salaries for teachers and principals as well as increased bilingual stipends
Under the state’s current funding structure, the Houston Independent School District could lose $46.4 million in state funds for the 2015-2016 school year because of rising property values throughout the city.
HISD Chief Financial Officer Ken Huewitt stressed to trustees that the bulk of the decrease in state funding is expected to be offset by money generated by the rise in property values. Generally, as property values in a district rise, the state provides less funding — a process known as “recapture.” Though 80 percent of HISD students come from low-income families, the district is considered property-wealthy under the state’s current funding formula because of rising property values.
Despite the reduction, HISD plans to move forward with proposals to boost teacher and principal salaries and increase bilingual stipends in an effort to help recruitment efforts throughout the district.
The 2015-2016 budget outlook was presented on May 21, during an HISD Board of Education workshop. The school board must formally approve the budget next month before it can go into effect.
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Salary and stipend increases are a key priority in the budget outlook for the 2015-2016 school year. Administrators are proposing an increase in starting teacher salaries that would bring them up to $50,500, which would make them more competitive and aid in recruiting efforts.
The district also is considering a plan that would increase the salaries of middle and high school principals. These principals currently make significantly less than their counterparts in surrounding districts. The increase would make the salaries more competitive.
At the middle school level, principals of specialty and K-8 schools would be brought up to $95,000, while principals of comprehensive schools would be brought up to $105,000. At the high school level, principals of specialty schools would be brought up to $115,000, principals of comprehensive schools would be brought up to $130,000, and principals of comprehensive high schools that have been deemed hard-to-fill would be brought up to $130,00 plus a $20,000 signing and retention bonus.
Also recommended was an increase in bilingual stipends from $1,250 to $3,000. The proposal would make the stipends more competitive, which would boost recruitment efforts.
In order to fund the salary and stipend increases, HISD administrators have proposed repurposing in several areas, including the ASPIRE teacher bonus program. The program ultimately could be reinstated if the district receives additional state funding.