As part of its $1.68 billion budget unanimously approved by the Board of Education last week, the Houston Independent School district allocated $30 million to increase pay for teachers.
A new teacher with the district will earn $49,100, a raise of 4.9 percent over the current $46,805 paid to new hires with a bachelor’s degree.
The final budget increased teacher pay greater than the administration’s May proposal, which slated a 3.4 percent raise for new teachers, raising their pay to $48,400.
However, the plan still leaves HISD teachers with lower opening salaries than many suburban districts, most of which pay $50,000 or more annually.
Senior teachers with more than 34 years of experience top out the scale and will earn $69,956, a $1,100 raise over current levels (about a 1.6 percent pay boost).
All teachers received at least a $900 raise under the new schedule.
The new pay scale has 27 steps and replaces the old 19-step scale. The most notable change is that new teachers will be eligible for an increase in steps after two years of teaching, instead of four, as under the previous
The new teacher plan does cut out salary bumps for new staff earning advanced degrees. Under the old scale, first-year teachers with a master’s degree earned $47,876 annually while one with a doctorate earned $48,984.
Houston Federation of Teachers President Gayle Fallon said that she was encouraged by the raise, though she added that the district would still find it difficult to attract teachers to HISD from suburban districts.
“It’s a start, but it is still lower than many of the suburban districts.” She wrote in an e-mail last week. “A big part of the problem is the absurd cost of housing in Houston,” she added, noting that many teachers have to live in the suburbs and face an hour commute.
Fallon also noted that the new schedule’s elimination of salary increases for advanced degrees will also make it more difficult for HISD to compete.
Non-instructional staff also will earn 3 percent raises under the newly enacted budget.