Jun 23, 2022 - News

More money on the table for Dallas ISD teachers

Illustration of an apple made of money.
Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Dallas ISD is addressing staffing issues with a budget proposal that will increase starting pay for new teachers, bump the minimum wage to $15 for staff, and offer a retention bonus for returning employees.

Driving the news: The board of trustees will vote on the budget Thursday night.

The big picture: America's school staffing shortage was decades in the making, but the pandemic made it worse. North Texas' population boom and the rising cost of living have made it even harder for some school districts to keep up with demand.

By the numbers: Dallas ISD plans to start new teachers with no experience at $60,000 and give returning employees retention bonuses of up to $3,500.

  • The district's proposed $15 minimum wage would impact about 7,200 support and operations staff.

Context: The staffing shortage has stirred up competition between school districts.

  • Fort Worth ISD will vote on its budget later this month and will consider an internal compensation study that compared its pay with other school districts and industry jobs. Sign-on bonuses and $60,000 starting pay for new teachers are on the table.
  • Plano ISD increased starting salaries for new teachers to $58,250, offers a variety of stipends, and boosted pay for mechanics, cafeteria specialists, cashiers and special education paraprofessionals.

Zoom out: Texas lagged behind the national average for teacher pay by $7,000 as of April. Closing the pay gap could help school districts with hiring and retention and allow leaders to focus more on other issues such as educational inequity, student mental health and school quality.

The intrigue: School districts are juggling teacher pay with the cost of campus police.

  • Dallas ISD paid $23 million for campus security in 2019-2020.
  • Next year's budget proposes nearly $30 million for security, accommodating the desire for a larger police presence on campuses in response to school shootings across the country.
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