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Pay hikes discussed for Trinity teachers
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – With word that the state will be replacing some of the education funds it cut last year, the Trinity School Board has begun discussions on possible teacher pay increases. During their meeting Monday night, Superintendent Dave Plymale and Business Manager Kevin Parish told the board that both the Texas House and Senate have agreed to restore at least $1.5 billion of the more than $4 billion in education funds that were cut last year. Under this funding plan, the Trinity Independent School District (TISD) could expect to receive an additional $186,000 in state funding during the 2013-14 school year and $317,000 during the 2014-15 period. "The House wants to add another $1 billion so we could actually receive more over the next two years by the time they get it all worked out," Plymale told the board. With the additional funding, Plymale said TISD would have an opportunity to become more competitive in its hunt for new teachers by possibly increasing overall teacher pay as well as by expanding its stipend program for special skills and services. The board has scheduled its first major budget workshop for April 8 at which time they will begin hammering out the details of the 2013-14 spending plan, including teacher salaries. During Monday's meeting, Plymale presented information comparing current Trinity pay scales and stipends with that of surrounding school districts. "When we are trying to recruit new teachers, we aren't just competing with schools of our size but with every other school system in the area," Plymale noted. The salary schedule comparison presented to the board indicates that while TISD's pay schedule for teachers with 10 years or more in service is equal to or above that of other area schools, the pay to starting teachers and those with less than 10 years of service is near the bottom. In addition, the only stipend the district currently pays for "hard to find" teaching specialties is the $4,500 per year in additional pay awarded to math teachers. The superintendent said that during their budget discussions, the board might want to consider adding a stipend for science instructors. He noted most schools in the area offer stipends to both math and science instructors while some offer the incentive to foreign language, special education, English as a second language (ESL) and bilingual education teachers. Another salary issue Plymale said the board might want to look at for next year's budget is the stipends paid to department heads. Currently, TISD pays an additional $500 per year to the department chairpersons at all of their campuses. Plymale's comparison with other area schools indicates their department chairmen get an additional $1,200 to $2,500 per year. Election called In other business Monday night, the school board formally scheduled its annual trustee election for May 11 to select three board members. A total of four candidates have filed for the three at-large positions including incumbent Maggie Trevino as well as Kevin Searcy, Monty Huffman and Jason "Bubba" Smith. Incumbents Steve Tyler and Gary Gallant are not seeking re-election. During the elections, local residents will be asked to vote for three of the four candidates. The three who garner the most votes will win the three-year terms on the school board. Other business During the meeting, the board also: • Recognized the elementary UIL academic meet winners and the middle and high school band contest winners. • Received a report on the Spring test schedule from Curriculum Director Steve Brownlee. The State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exams begin on April 1 and continue at various grade levels through April 25, • Learned that Trinity High School placed first in the district University Interscholastic League academic meet. • Voted to offer new contracts to members of the current teaching staff for the 2013-14 school year.