Trust Louie

The Truth About Teacher Pay

There’s been a lot of talk recently about how trustees voted against an increase in teacher’s pay.  Since this is untrue, it’s probably time to set the record straight.
 
The trustees took up the topic of pay increases for the teachers and other employees of the school district starting in March 2021. 
 
Numerous workshops and sessions were held for the board to debate and understand the implications of pay increases for GCISD staff.  The district finance and HR staff answered numerous questions and produced reams of information as the trustees discussed various options for pay increases for staff across the district.
 
After much deliberation and projection of potential costs and implications, an increase of two percent for all staff was agreed upon and put on the agenda for the June 21, 2021 meeting.  At that meeting, the compensation motion was amended before the vote to include a larger increase for one particular pay group – teachers.
 
There were two problems with this amendment; first, the “teacher” pay group does not include quite a few of the front-line professionals who are critical to the success of our students.  For example, it does not cover diagnosticians, therapists, or counselors.  Secondly, none of Trustees had had the opportunity to understand the implications on the district budget long term.  From my perspective as a Trustee, with fiduciary responsibility to the district and the taxpayers, it would have been reckless and irresponsible to approve the amended motion since we had no idea what the implications would be.  The amendment to the motion was defeated and the original motion, providing a 2% pay increase district-wide, was passed.
 
One week before the next meeting, on July 26, 2021, a proposal was put on the agenda to increase compensation for the “teacher” pay group in line with the proposed amendment from the previous meeting.  There was quite a spirited discussion on the motion, and it became clear very quickly that we had more questions than answers.  I moved to table the motion so that we could fully understand the long-term implications of the proposal.  At the following meeting on August 23, 2021, a modified version of the proposal that we, as district Trustees, felt that we could afford, was passed.
 
To say that I am “against increasing teacher pay” is disingenuous at best, and a down-right lie at worst.  Our main responsibility as trustees is to ensure that GCISD remains an excellent district with viable finances.  GCISD is a destination district.  We are at the top of the rankings in the state and have an excellent record of preparing our students for college, careers, or the military with our innovative and comprehensive programs.  97% of our students graduate and are prepared for the next phase of their lives.   

We cannot continue to be the district that we are if we make knee-jerk financial decisions without due consideration.