The Cleburne ISD board of trustees approved a 3 percent raise for all school district employees during Monday night’s meeting.
The board also approved the budget for the 2019-20 school year. They will consider approving the tax rate soon.
For the past two years, the board has approved a 3 percent raise for all employees. There are five pay grades: teachers, administrators, clerical/instructional paraprofessionals, technology and auxiliary.
In February, officials with the Texas Association of School Boards conducted a pay study for the district and said overall CISD officials do a good job in ensuring their staff members are paid well in their respective positions.
When researching what a staff member can be paid, TASB officials said in a previous Times-Review article that district officials should look to pay them for the job value, as well as ensuring they are retaining current employees and recruiting the right employees for the positions.
Kyle Boles, CISD executive director of human resources, said TASB officials recommended adding the technology pay grade and giving compensation based on markets. The raises are based on the midpoint, so if employees wish to know how much of an increase they could be receiving, he said they can contact the human resources department.
This pay raise will make starting pay for first-year teachers who have less than one year of experience with CISD or any school district at $52,000, compared to $50,250 last year.
Also last week, Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 3 into law, which addresses the public school finance system, increases teacher pay and provides property tax relief, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
The bill creates an incentive pay program for teachers; adds career, college and military readiness bonuses for school districts; funds full-day prekindergarten for students in poverty; and requires all elementary school principals and teachers in kindergarten through third grade to be trained in science-based reading instruction by 2021.
Boles said in a previous Times-Review article that he believes the bill’s intent is to increase teacher compensation and to prioritize differentiated compensation for teachers that have experience in the field.
“The state increased the minimum salary schedule for the upcoming school year,” Bole said. “For some school districts, there will be some changes to their pay structure to meet the new minimum wage requirement.”
The approved pay raise for CISD is well above the minimum salary starting point, he said, so they will meet and exceed the state minimum.
“Another aspect of the bill is differentiated compensation for teachers that have experience in the teaching field,” he said. “The Cleburne ISD administration has proposed a plan to meet this tenet of the bill for the next school year by providing one-time payments to teachers at different levels of experience in the classroom.”
This one-time payment for CISD teachers includes $100 for teachers with zero to four years of completed service, $500 for teachers with five to 10, $1,000 for teachers with 11 to 15 years and $1,500 for teachers with 16 years or more.
For other CISD employees, the one-time payment includes $100 for employees with zero to four years of completed service, $500 for five to 15 years and $1,000 for 16 years or more.
Boles said this payment not a stipend, not guaranteed from year to year, not a gift of public funds, the payment is taxable and employees are only eligible if they are employed as of the first day of school.
HB 3 also addresses the state’s school finance system.
The bill creates a student-focused formula structure where the needs of a child — not the child’s zip code — will determine funding allocations, according to the governor’s release.
The bill also buys down property tax rates by an average of 8 cents in 2020 and implements a 2.5 percent property tax cap starting in 2021, which will results in an average tax rate reduction of 13 cents this biennium.
Overall, CISD Chief Financial Officer Sarah Taylor said they are adopting their best conservative guess of revenue with the information the Texas Education Agency has provided them concerning HB 3.
“With the information we have so far, the budget meets the requirements of HB 3,” Taylor said ina previous Times-Review article. “We will continue to monitor and adapt as we receive clarity throughout the year. The tax rate will be compressed under HB 3.”
In local tax revenue, the district is receiving $27,744,071, compared to $29,164,083 last year. In state revenue, they are receiving $30,121,012, compared to $24,827,075 last year.
CISD Superintendent Kyle Heath said this is the first time he’s seen a district receive more money from the state compared to local revenue.
The board received a bond update from Balfour Beatty Construction Co. concerning the renovation of the old Cleburne High School into a Career & Technical Education Center.
Balfour Senior Project Manager Jeremy Blevins said the Jeff D. Cody Arena is almost complete. They are installing the bleachers, the wood floor and the glass.
In the old CHS, they are finishing the TEAM School areas and installing the structural steel outside the old school entrance.
In other news, the board made some purchases:
• $46,484 from the child nutrition budget to purchase and the installation of a outdoor cooking counter at CHS from Mission Restaurant Supply. The equipment includes a fryer, griddle, reach-in refrigerator and a four-well serving line.
• $105,567.80 from the maintenance and operations budget to replace all hallway tile at Smith Middle School from Retail Commercial Speciality Flooring Inc.
• $166,403.60 from the maintenance and operations budget to purchase video cameras, servers and software for Smith and Wheat middle schools from Enterprise Security Solutions of Texas. The new system will provide servers to allow the district to have a minimum of 30 days of video retention at each campus with high definition cameras and the ability to expand to 128 cameras, which is the same system at CHS and will integrate with their existing access control system.
• $33,580.92 to purchase two prekindergarten classroom set ups.
• $34,957.50 to purchase Cisco phones and licensing from Presidio for Smith Middle School and Marti and Gerard elementary schools.