TEMPLE, Texas — School districts across the Lone Star State have announced big pay raises since Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 3, which provides $11.5 billion for Texas public education, in June.
Temple Independent School District held off on its announcements.
The reason: The school district wanted to ensure they could give new teachers one of the best offers around.
"We knew this was a chance for us to be competitive in salaries so, yes we wanted to hold the last bat," Temple ISD superintendent Dr. Bobby Ott said. "That's what we did. Our starting teacher salary is now $50,225, and that is the highest starting teacher salary of any school district our size around here."
Ott told 6 News Temple ISD has been competitive in areas like student programs and academics before, but the pay lagged behind.
"The one place in the last several years that we have not been competitive is compensation, and that is a well-known fact," Ott said. "It was the desire of the school board and the administrative team that those days are over."
Ott provided the following pay increase percentages to 6 News Wednesday:
- Starting teacher salary: $50,225
- Experienced teachers, nurses and librarians: 6.7-10.4% increase
- Counselors, diagnosticians, custodial staff and hourly employees: 4-5% increase
- Coordinators and truancy officers: 6.5-9.3% increase
Ott said Temple ISD will receive $7.1 million each year for the next two from the state of Texas under House Bill 3.
The bill requires 30% of that money be used for raises.
Ott said Temple ISD used 59%, almost doubled that requirement, for the raises.
With that change being reliant on state money, Temple ISD will be forced to pay attention to sustainability studies and prepare to adjust if the level that of funding is not sustained by the next Texas legislature.
Ott said he believes that change would be unlikely.
"I think it's going to be extremely difficult for the state to jump up 10% in their contribution to public education, and then pull back on it," Ott said. "That would be terrible policy for them to take it back."
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