Texas Border Business
Mission, Texas- The Mission Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees has completed a two-year fiscal journey to improve employee pay to levels at or above market averages. When the board hired Dr. Carol G. Perez as the new superintendent two years ago, one of the areas of concern they wanted to work on as a team of eight, was to improve upon the compensation paid to district employees and reduce the number of teachers leaving the district.
“One of the key elements to holding on to the best staff is to make sure you are providing the best compensation possible,” explained Dr. Perez. “When I was hired, the district pay scales had fallen behind as compared to the area market. Now, after two years of careful planning and budgeting with the board members, we are able to offer our employees salaries that, in most cases beats the market median.”
Dr. Perez indicated one of the examples is the teacher salary plan used when new teachers are hired. Two years ago, the district schedule was above the market median only for teachers with 0-5 years of experience. The new salaries approved by the Board of Trustees sets the teacher salary plan above the market medians for all levels of experience (see comparison graphic). 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 years 1-6), $1,750 (3.0% GPI years 6-9), $2,350 (4.0% GPI years 10-12), $2,470 (4.2% GPI at 13 years and above).
Not only does the newly adopted salary plan increase teacher pay, it also addresses several other employee groups that had pay rates below market medians. 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% raise based on the newly increased salary scale midpoint. All other employees will receive a 2.5% increase of the improved mid-point. Mission CISD 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 extra-curricular activities.
“The board members have been supportive throughout this whole process, and through that effort we have not only been able to provide the improved compensation to our employees, but we have done so while also reducing the tax rate each of the last two years,” Dr. Perez said. “Through some careful budgeting, prioritizing, and staffing, we have been able to not only provide for our employees, but also keep the educational and service standards our community expects from us.”
The district compensation plan was approved by the Board of Trustees during their meeting of June 24, along with the 2020-2021 budget that begins July 1. The current budget is based upon a preliminary tax rate that will be just over a penny per $100 of property valuation lower than the previous year. That follows a 10-cent tax rate decrease for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. The final property tax rate may not be set until September.