GISD pay raise

Teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses who work for the Greenville Independent School District could receive at least a 9 percent raise this coming school year, Superintendent Demetrus Liggins announced at Tuesday’s GISD Board of Trustees meeting.

Teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses who work for the Greenville Independent School District could receive at least a 9 percent raise this coming school year, Superintendent Demetrus Liggins announced at Tuesday’s GISD Board of Trustees meeting.

The increase in pay is in part due to the passing of Texas House Bill 3, which was signed by Governor Greg Abbott on June 11. The piece of legislation is expected to – over the next two years – provide $2 billion to school districts throughout the state to be spent on increases to teacher salaries, but with school librarians, counselors and nurses also being eligible.

In addition to 9 percent raises for the already-mentioned positions, members of GISD’s finance team are also trying to plan their 2019-20 budget around offering all other district employees a 5 percent raise.

If the 9 percent raise for teachers makes it into the final draft of the budget – which is to be approved on August 20 – it would be above and beyond the increases mandated by the Texas Education Agency’s minimum salary scale, which was updated for the 2019-20 academic year.

Before the possibility of a 9 percent raise was announced, the change to the TEA’s minimum salary scale wasn’t going to affect teachers in GISD who were still working through their first 10 years in the profession, because the district’s hiring schedule already showed higher salaries than the new state minimum.

The adjustment to the state’s minimum salary scale, however, was going to result in an increase in pay for GISD teachers with 11 to 21 years of experience.

But, if the proposed 9 percent increase for the district is finalized, raises for teachers with more than a decade of experience will offer even more of an increase than was mandated by the updates state salary scale.

For example, teachers who are entering their 12th year in the profession were going to receive an increase to their minimum annual salary from $46,078 – their 11th year – to $47,850 this year, to keep the district in compliance with the new state-mandated scale. However, if the 9 percent increase is approved in the final draft of this years budget, their minimum salary for this coming year would be $50,225.02.

Likewise, a teacher entering their 21st year in the profession, under the changes to the TEA’s salary scale, would receive an increase to their minimum annual salary from $51,425 – their 20th year – to $54,540 this year, but with the prospective 9 percent increase, their minimum annual pay would jump to $56,053.25.

The GISD School Board also plans to approve – or amend and approve – it’s property tax rate for the 2019-20 fiscal year at their next meeting on Aug. 20.

The district’s proposed property tax rate is about $1.228 for every $100 of a property’s value, which is a 7-cent reduction per $100 valuation compared to last year’s rate of $1.298.

However, with the average taxable value of a home in Greenville increasing from about $101,200 last year to $114,500 this year, the amount in taxes that a homeowner in Greenville would pay toward the school district has increased from about $1,313.60 to just over $1,406.

This means that with the total taxable value of property in Greenville being more than $2.4 billion this year compared to a city-wide taxable value of about $2.1 billion last year, the district would still receive about $2.2 million more in property tax revenue, despite the lower proposed tax rate.

Travis Hairgrove is a news reporter and features writer at the Herald-Banner and covers city government for many municipalities in Hunt County. To reach him outside of business hours, email THairgroveReporter@gmail.com.