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Employees at MCISD will be seeing an increase in pay this fiscal year, without the district having to raise taxes.
This Wednesday, June 24, the Mission Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees met over Webex for a public hearing and regular meeting. During the public hearing, Assistant Superintendent Rumalda Ruiz presented details on the 2020-2021 budget and compensation plan, both of which were approved during the meeting.
The state revenue for the district is based on an Average Daily Attendance (ADA) of 13,800 students, no increase from the 2019-2020 school year. The property tax rate is estimated to be $1.2260 per $100 valuation, a decrease of $.0135 from this year’s rate of $1.2395 per $100 valuation – though the rate may be subject to change, as it will not be set until Sept. this year.
“Property values were estimated by Hidalgo County to increase by 3.5 percent,” Ruiz said. “As of June 15, which was the latest report available, property values are $2,285,144,045, this reflects an increase of 8.66 [percent] from prior year values.”
The general fund is estimated to be $165,385,654, with a debt service fund of $8,887,230. The total revenues will land at $174,272,884.
“The budget was also based on current funding formulas from House Bill 3 from the 86th Legislative Session,” Ruiz said. “With all the rapid changes that have been transpiring since we’ve faced this [coronavirus] pandemic, we did reduce the budget for next year by $6 million in anticipation that that reduction was mandated by the state.”
Since June 10 Ruiz said the district staff has been attending numerous trainings and guidance and different sessions from the Texas Education Agency (TEA), and they’ve said the reduction must take place in the current year. The majority of funds at MCISD go toward payroll, which accounts for $128,615,235 from the general fund.
Households with a market average value of their residence of $105,719 are expected to see a $8.68 increase to their monthly property taxes, while those with a value of $125,000 will see a decrease of $1.13 and those with a value of $150,000 will see a decrease of $1.41.
Ruiz also said MCISD is planning on receiving funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, at an estimated amount of $6,729,777, for the current year’s budget.
“It’s to fund different programs,” Ruiz said. “One that is the most notable and is impacting the district to a significant degree is the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, known as the ESSER, among other grants that the state is receiving.”
Ruiz said TEA is using these funds to replace state funding the district was already planning to receive, so this is not new funding, and the district had planned to apply for this funding the day after the public hearing.
MCISD will be seeing a salary increase for teachers, nurses and other positions listed in the School Program Professional Salary Schedule. Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Student Services Lorena Garcia presented the compensation plan to the board during the meeting, and said MCISD noticed that their employees with increasing years of experience were making below the market rate a few years ago.
According to a press release from the district two years ago, the district schedule was above the market median only for teachers with 0-5 years of experience. The new salaries set the teacher salary plan “above the market medians for all levels of experience.”
The Board of Trustees adopted a general pay increase (GPI) to maintain market position for teachers as follows: $52,470 starting teacher salary, $1,470 (2.5% GPI for years 1-6), $1,750 (3.0% GPI for years 6-9), $2,350 (4.0% GPI for years 10-12) and $2,470 (4.2% GPI at 13 years and above).
MCISD also stated that salary schedules for auxiliary employees were improved, with increases in the minimum, midpoint and maximum pay ranges for clerical, para-professionals, and auxiliary staff. Similar adjustments were made to the pay scales for professional employees. Auxiliary employees will also receive a 4 percent raise based on the newly increased salary scale midpoint.
All other employees will receive a 2.5% increase of the improved mid-point. The district stated that they will also continue to lead the area in CDL bus driver pay, “with a new starting rate of $15.25 an hour; up from $13.82 an hour in the 2018-2019 school year.”
Bus aide, cook/server, and custodian starting pay for zero years of experience will be $11 an hour. That is a 70-cent per hour increase. Other changes will include updates to stipends in areas that had fallen below market rates, such as athletics, fine arts and other extracurricular activities.
MCISD plans to roll out the increase in salaries for the 2020-2021 school year in hopes of retaining staff and faculty, and recruiting the best to Mission. The new plan will either beat or match the market rate, with a mission to ensure all employees are paid the minimum amount listed for their position.
Board President Charlie Garcia III, along with all the board members, commended MCISD administration for their efforts in making the new 2020-2021 compensation plan viable for the district.