NEWS HEADLINES

Board talks raises for teachers, staff

By Bob Buckel | Published Wednesday, July 24, 2013

In Alvord, as in other school districts around Texas, there’s a different feeling as budget work begins for the upcoming school year.

The word “cuts” is virtually unheard.

Alvord ISD trustees met Monday to give their approval to a few routine items and give superintendent Bill Branum a little direction as he works on the budget for the 2013-2014 school year.

Much of the talk centered on how, and how much, to provide to teachers and staff in the way of raises.

Even a conservative look at the income side shows the district will have more revenue this year than last year, Branum said. So far in the current budget, revenue is roughly $250,000 more than what was budgeted.

“Our gas and oil tax revenue should increase,” he said. “It’s difficult to nail down what the state dollars might be, but we’ll budget as if there’s not going to be a lot of difference in the state allocation between last year and this year,”

That, he said, is “the conservative thing to do.”

“That way, when we do get the actual numbers, it can only get better – not worse.”

Given that climate, he told the board he would like for teachers to get around a $2,000 raise this year, with increases of $1,000 to $1,200 for auxiliary employees.

Just how to accomplish that took up most of the rest of the meeting.

Board member Jeannette Ward said she would prefer some kind of sliding scale, rather than an across-the-board increase, so that teachers’ raises are tied to how long they’ve been in Alvord ISD.

“I’d like to tie it to local tenure in some way,” she said. “I’d like for us to show more appreciation for the loyalty they’ve shown.”

It was suggested that the across-the-board raise be $1,500, with the rest tied to tenure based on a formula to be developed.

OTHER ACTION

The budget remains a work in progress but the board did go ahead and approve several other proposals on the agenda. They were:

  • an initial payment of $362,900 to North Texas Contracting for the $1.2 million in concrete work underway at the high school and middle school;
  • annual Risk Management Insurance contracts with TASB for property, equipment, crime, school liability and autos;
  • a new three-year Worker’s Compensation insurance plan with CAS Inc. for $16,830 a year;
  • adding Rhonda Bowen, the superintendent’s secretary, as an authorized representative for TexPool, the state’s investment vehicle for public entities.

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