Written by: Reagan Flowers, PhD
The passing of the 2019-2020 budget by Houston ISD, the largest public school district in the state of Texas, has naturally caused quite a stir, particularly with the controversy around teacher pay raises. The unanimous vote by the Texas House and Senate in support of House Bill 3, which approved an additional $6.5 billion to improve public education, sent a clear message that the legislature wanted an across the board increase in teacher pay. The legislative action also provided the green light for school districts to choose how they chose to allocate the additional funding, which many hoped would be an opportunity for school districts to demonstrate how much teachers and support staff are appreciated.
By addressing the significant issue surrounding pay parity, HISD is in a better position to retain and attract diverse classroom teachers, while boosting incomes for low wage earners who serve critical support roles. The approved 3.5% pay raise for new teachers in Houston Independent School District does raise the bar or starting pay to around $54,368. While this is a step in the right direction, the District remains at a competitive disadvantage when compared to other districts in the Greater Houston Metropolitan Area, such as Sheldon Independent School District, where starting salaries range as high as $58,500. Teaching is an all too important profession, and we as a community must continually stand up to support teachers, support staff, and administrators. They are all working to make their school district better.