Comal ISD approves 4% wage increases for all district employees

The board originally planned to increase salaries by 3%, but district staff presented a new proposal for a 4% increase at the April 28 meeting. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Journal)

Comal ISD’s board of directors on May 3 unanimously approved a compensation plan for the upcoming school year that includes a 4% salary increase for all employees.

At an April 28 board meeting, the board voted to delay approving salary increases after district staff unexpectedly changed their recommendation of a 3% salary increase to a 4% increase on the afternoon of the meeting.

In November, voters approved a voter-approved tax ratification election that increased the district’s maintenance and operating tax rate on the condition that the district use the revenue generated to increase staff compensation and hire new staff. new positions.

Thanks to the election, all staff and teachers are guaranteed a salary increase of at least 3% each year starting in the 2021-22 school year for the next four years, said Bobbi Supak, superintendent. DSIC assistant for human resources.

At the April 28 meeting, Supak presented board members with the proposed compensation plan for the 2022-2023 school year which included additional teaching positions, increased stipends for some extracurricular coordinators, and increased 3% which would raise the starting salary of teachers to $50,500.

After the presentation, Superintendent Andrew Kim announced that staff had changed their recommendation to pursue a higher salary increase after Comal County property appraisals were provided to the district.

Between 2021 and 2022, the projected assessed value of property in Comal County has increased by more than 30%, according to the Comal County Assessment District.

Although the appraisal values ​​are not finalized, CISD’s chief financial officer, Crystal Hermesch, said her team is confident the district can afford to give staff a 4% raise if the final increase in the evaluation rate is 30% from one year to the next.

Typically, school districts don’t approve compensation plans until June, when school boards set their new annual budgets, Hermesch said; however, district officials have opted to present the plan as soon as teachers consider whether they will renew their contracts.

Jason York, chairman of the board and administrator for District 3, expressed concern that the district would not be able to compete for employees, as several school districts in the area recently announced salary increases. salary.

“We have contract renewals here. This is the time when teachers, coaches, staff, every aspect looks the other way,” York said on April 28. “It’s the only thing we have control over as governance and oversight. … Let’s show that we really want to close this wage gap.

Following discussions at the special meeting on May 3, the board voted unanimously to approve the 4% increase. With this change, the starting salary for teachers in the district will increase to $51,200, and the district is expected to allocate $7.85 million for pay increases in the 2022-23 budget.

Hermesch expects to present a balanced budget to the board for consideration in June. The proposed budget includes approximately $10 million in new staffing requests, including $4.98 million previously approved by the board to hire staff needed to accommodate campus growth.

Council will hold a budget workshop on May 10 before adopting the budget in June.