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Houston School Board Votes to Avoid Teacher Salary Freeze

Houston district administrators now have to find about $5 million in the $2 billion budget to pay for the plan

The scheduled salary increases for HISD teachers, based on years of experience, will cost about $5 million.
The scheduled salary increases for HISD teachers, based on years of experience or “steps,” will cost about $5 million.

This new school year, Houston teachers will see modest increases in their paycheck, based on their experience.

The Houston school board rejected a proposal to freeze their salaries and added back scheduled raises for veteran instructors at its meeting Thursday night.

Most teachers will see between $200 and $2,200 more in their salary. It’s based on their years in the classroom, also known as “step” pay scale. Without that compensation, several instructors told the board they don’t feel valued.

“Teachers are not disposable. We are indispensable. Children deserve great teachers, teachers who deserve to be compensated accordingly,” said Daniel Santos, a middle school teacher and also an executive board member of the Houston Federation of Teachers.

After about an hour long debate, the HISD board of trustees approved a revised compensation plan in a five to four vote. Board President Rhonda Skillern-Jones expressed doubt.

Governance requires us to do our due diligence and to make a blanket amendment and not know how we’re going to pay for it does not seem fiscally responsible to me,” she said, adding she would love to give teachers a raise.

Houston district administrators now have to find about $5 million in the $2 billion budget to pay for the plan, though the board’s amendment — brought by Trustee Elizabeth Santos — instructed the administration not to eliminate any staff’s continued employment.

Even with the scheduled raises, some teachers said their salaries lag pay in other school districts in Greater Houston.

Bubba Brownley has taught for nine years and listed off other places he could earn more money: Conroe, $1,200 more; Alief, $1,500; Galena Park, $1,500; Fort Bend, $2,400.

“And that doesn’t count stipends for masters and doctorates,” he said. 

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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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