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sharyland-logo-copy-1MISSION – Sharyland ISD School Board members approved several pay increases during this week’s board meeting. The increases will cost the district just over $1.8 million.

Ann Patton, senior compensation consultant with Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), presented salary comparison information to the district this week and made several recommendations. Patton said the district had done very well and there weren’t a lot of areas that needed improvement.

The board voted to go with the recommendations made by TASB, a three percent general raise to all employees and teachers will receive a $1,500 pay increase. Employees receiving less than midpoint, compared to others in the same field, and having above average experience could receive an additional 1.5 to three percent raises to make their salaries more competitive.

Administrative and professional, supervisory and technical, and clerical secretarial positions would get the 1.5 percent increase if their pay is still below median market value and they have above average experience after the general pay increase. Instructional support and manual trades positions would receive an additional three percent pay increase if meeting the same scenario – below median market value and above average experience.

The starting salary for teachers will also increase to $44,300. The base starting pay is currently $43,000.

The district had not had a salary survey performed since 2007. In 2007, according to the survey, the district was paying employees below average compared to other districts. The district has worked for several years to increase salaries, as their budget allows, to remain competitive with other school districts. Last year’s budget included a $900 raise for teachers and 1.5 percent pay increase for all others. Otherwise, the biggest raise in the last three years was in 2010, when teachers received a $1,200 raise and other employees received 2.5 percent increase.

This year’s survey showed SISD as one of the top three Valley school districts according to how they pay their teachers.

Two years ago, SISD removed five days from most employee schedules. Last year, three days were added back to their schedules. This year, if needed, some employees will be receiving two additional days for those working over 187 days, basically putting back in the five days that were taken out two years ago.

Fred Ramirez, board president was concerned about how the raise will affect the district’s budget for the next two to three years, especially after the new high school opens next year and an additional $5 million is being budgeted for salaries.

Dr. Virginia Richter said she would not recommend doing something that would put the district in debt, and she recommended to go with the TASB recommendations.

Board members and administration agreed they needed to increase starting salaries and be more competitive with other districts to get the teachers they want working for them.

“It’s getting them here,” said Yasmina Nye, assistant superintendent of human resources.

“Our district then keeps them here,” said Dr. Noe Oliveira board member, adding that he was happy to see how far the district has come to be up there with other districts.

Most of the districts’ teachers have nine years of experience. The district currently has 75 teachers with 25 or more years of experience, something Ramirez said he likes to see. Nearly 48 percent of new hires in the district have zero to nine years of experience.

Regarding the budget concern, Jesse Muniz, assistant superintendent of business and finance, said he is confident their budget will allow for the increases and future projects, swimming pool and new high school, without having to dip into the general fund.

Muniz said he had already figured in $1.8 million for pay increases in his proposed budget before knowing a definite amount.

With increases in allotments received from the state for the next two to three years and the tax ratification, the district can see an increase of over $5 million within the next two years. That’s more than enough to cover the salaries of employees at the new high school.

Richter said she was willing to hold off on other items they have taken away from the budget until the new high school is up and running, mentioning the music programs at the elementaries and the technology fund.

Ricky Longoria, board secretary, agreed, saying it would be better to go with a very conservative approach before adding things the district took away two years ago when state funding was reduced.

Natatorium Discussion

While discussion and consideration to approve a schematic design for the proposed natatorium was on the building operations and finance committee agenda this week, an approval was not made.

A new schematic design included less pool, but an additional learn-to-swim pool.

While most board members were essentially happy with the design, but not happy with the increased cost of $3.5 million, Athletic Director Richard Thompson was not happy.

Thompson’s primary concern was the additional pool. He would like to see a way to use a full pool instead of taking space away, even if it means having a section of the pool at four feet in depth for the learn-to-swim program.

Longoria thought the design fit their vision and justified getting a district pool and increasing participation in the swim program.

Other ideas were voiced including using wall pieces to separate a learn-to-swim area from the main pool area to avoid younger kids from getting in the deeper waters and putting the learn-to-swim pool elsewhere, keeping the main pool a rectangle.

Administration said changes were made based on safety codes. Other changes included larger locker, seating and public use areas.

Administration will be meeting with another consultant next week to discuss pool designs; Thompson said he would like to be part of the discussion.

Thompson said if they had to go with the schematic design that was presented to get the pool, he would go with it, but he would like to look at other options and see if everyone could leave happy.

In the meantime, the district has approved a contract with the City of Mission for the use of Bannworth pool for this coming school year. The contract is pending attorney and City of Mission approval.

The approval was made for a cost not to exceed $11,000. The cost quoted as of now is $10,700 for 171 days.

The board also authorized a request to seek proposals from co-op approved vendors for the Pioneer High School football field and track.

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