Skip to content

New budget offers short- and long-term gains for our teachers

2014 May 22
by HISD Communications

We value our teachers in HISD, understanding that they are the foundation of our district. That’s precisely why we have been working hard this budget season to find the money in a tight budget environment to better reward our teachers for their hard work and contributions to the district.

Currently, we are working on a proposal that would add $20 million to next year’s budget – all of which would go directly to teacher salaries. And while that sounds like a lot of money, for a district our size, it’s really only a drop in the bucket of where we need to be. That fact needs to be crystal clear to everyone.

As many of you know, several of Houston’s outlying districts recently raised their entry-level salary to $50,000. Unfortunately, moving to the $50,000 starting level salary and calibrating teacher salaries up our pay scale can’t be accomplished in one year. For a district our size — more than 12,000 teachers – and with HISD’s complex pay scale, it would take about $99 million to accomplish this type of increase across the board. That’s an amount that our current budget simply can’t accommodate.

The $20 million, though, is a step in the right direction. We know that we need to be more competitive in the area of teacher salaries and we are committed to doing so over the next couple of years.

In fact, this proposal starts the process of creating a more competitive and more sensible teacher salary schedule that we will continue to implement and refine until it’s where we want it to be — and with which we can proudly compete on an equal footing with any district in the Houston area.

The proposal itself is predictably detailed, but I’d like you to know about a couple of key points so that you understand what the board is looking at for next year and where we’re heading in the future.

First, all teachers will benefit under this plan. Every teacher in HISD would receive at least a $900 increase next year, and some teachers could earn as much as $2,300 more, depending on experience. Entry-level salary increases from $46,805 to $48,400.

And for the 2015-2016 school year, we propose additional steps to increase the district’s competitiveness in recruiting and retaining effective teachers. That will include increasing the entry-level salary toward $50,000-plus and increasing bilingual stipends.

Second — and you may have already heard about this — in our new structure, we will stop offering higher pay for higher degrees. There is growing research that there’s no correlation between how well your children learn and perform and whether their teachers have advanced degrees. (In fact, we’ve been paying our higher rate to a number of instructors whose advanced education has nothing to do with teaching – such as law degrees. No more.)

Make no mistake: We are educators, and we value lifelong learning, especially when it enhances classroom and leadership skills. We’re simply choosing to leverage our limited resources to support innovative and proven strategies that recognize exemplary teaching and that impact student achievement.

If you want to learn more about our proposal, please follow it through the Board of Education as trustees review and vote on next year’s budget. How we compensate our teachers is an important issue, and we’re glad you want to be informed.

Comments are closed.