During a special meeting held Monday, the Santa Gertrudis Independent School District Board of Trustees approved salary increases for its teachers and district aides for the 2019-20 academic year.

The salary increases are being funded through a combination of district salary step increases and state compensation that will be distributed through House Bill 3 legislation that overhauled education financing and was passed by the 86th Texas Legislature in early June.

Per HB3, school districts must use 30 percent of any revenue gain from average daily attendance state funding over last year’s ADA funding amount for pay raises for non-administrative staff.

Of that 30 percent, 75 percent must be used to pay salaries and benefits of teachers, nurses, counselors and librarians, with priority given to teachers who have five years or more of experience.

The remaining 25 percent of the 30 percent of ADA revenue gain must be used in salary raises for full-time district employees.

The board was presented with a preliminary salary schedule in June that accounted for about $1.1 million in increased revenue for the 2019-20 school year.

During Monday’s meeting, Superintendent Veronica Alfaro said the district would still be receiving that $1.1 million.

“But what the state has gone and done is removed the hardship grants,” Alfaro said.

Alfaro said with the loss of the hardship grant funding, the district would be required to spend just $94,000 on salary raises instead of the $254,000 that had previously been determined.

However, she said in order to “remain competitive with our surrounding school districts,” she recommended moving forward with the proposed salary scheduled based on the $254,000 for salary increases.

“And to be honest, we told the teachers this is what it’s going to be,” Alfaro said. “Because all of the templates that have been released had that.”

Alfaro said SGISD business manager Amanda Ramirez had “double-checked and triple-checked” the numbers and they felt “very confident that the money is going to be there.”

“We’re not taking away from the other stuff as discussed, as far as the school bus (purchase) and other items,” she said. “We’re still putting money into the fund balance. All of that remains the same.”

For 2019-20, SGISD teachers and counselors, along with the district’s nurse, will receive, in addition to their step increase, between $4,000 and $5,200 through HB3 compensation based on their years of experience.

The district’s starting salary for a teacher, counselor or nurse with a bachelor’s degree but no experience also increased by $2,000, from $39,562 to $41,562. However, Santa Gertrudis ISD has no professional staff currently at this step.

In addition, district aides, which includes classroom, library, reading and technology aides, will also receive a salary increase of $2 per hour in the 2019-20 school year.

When combined with regular salary step, those salary increases range between $2,311 and $2,816. For a first-year aide with no experience, the increase will be $1.811, from $20,689 to $22,500. The district has three employees at that starting salary.

The SGISD Board of Trustees approved the salary increases in a 6-0 vote. Board vice-president Carrie DeLaney was not present for Monday’s meeting.

Anthony Ruiz can be contacted at aruiz@king-ranch.com or (361) 221-0251.

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