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Houston Educators Push Back Against Proposed Salary Freeze

The Houston school board is expected to vote on the compensation plan at its meeting next week

Trustee Elizabeth Santos told reporters that she believes the HISD budget can cover $6 million in scheduled raises for teachers.
Trustee Elizabeth Santos told reporters that she believes the HISD budget can cover $6 million in scheduled raises for teachers.

Dozens of educators spoke out against the proposed pay freeze at the Houston district headquarters Thursday afternoon, saying it’s not the way to “welcome” teachers back to school.

Houston school board member and teacher Elizabeth Santos said that her fellow educators were shocked to find out that the administration at the Houston Independent School District wants to freeze their salaries for this school year — and not give anyone scheduled raises.

“It’s simply not right to tell teachers that their pay is being cut days before they return to their classrooms for the new school year,” Santos said. “Beyond that, it’s not smart. As a district, we must ensure we don’t lose our most valuable asset for educating our children — experienced classroom teachers.”

Trustee Sergio Lira, Houston Federation of Teachers President Zeph Capo and several educators joined the press conference.

Capo emphasized that if Houston schools improved enough to avoid a state-mandated takeover, it’s because of teachers.

“And this is not the way to welcome them back to a new year when we need them focused the most on doing the best for our kids with the least,” Capo said.

Santos said that she believes the $2 billion budget, which the board approved at the end of July, can cover the $6 million needed for the raises, if district administrators account for the departure of veteran, higher paid teachers.

Lucia Moreno, who teaches at Rucker Elementary, said that she has to use her own money to buy equipment like cameras that her students need and her school can’t afford. Now she wonders how she’ll be able to pay for students’ supplies without an expected pay bump of about $1,000.

“So where does that money come? They wind up losing. Who loses? Our kids in the East End,” Moreno said.

The Houston school board is expected to vote on the compensation plan at its meeting next week.

 

 

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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