More information please: School District mulls compensation increases

SAN BENITO — Wednesday evening, as soon as the meeting started, school board members voted to move up deliberation on the compensation plan to the number one agenda item.

However, that didn’t mean they were ready to make a decision.

Instead, the issue was quickly tabled after a short discussion between members.

Board Member Arnold Padilla made a motion to table the topic and a decision indefinitely.

The board agreed.

Citing “lack of understanding on how it will affect the budget,” the board agreed several workshops would be needed to be conducted so members could understand the plan fully.

Because the district does not currently meet the going market rate on teacher salaries, the Texas Association of School Boards suggested it would be in the best interest of the district to give 5 percent raises across the board.

If this occurred, San Benito would be level with other districts in the area, enabling San Benito to compete for and retain top talent.

But, that could cost the district $5.9 million.

Board members have already discussed, briefly, how they would pay for those increases.

Those include dipping into the fund balance, cutting down on self insurance, raising the tax rate and making small reductions in all programs.

All four options have yet to be considered.

Now, because the board voted to table that decision they had to table the decision on making changes to a local policy that coincides with the compensation plan.

The policy is DED Local, which looks at compensation and the number of day’s people are working.

Are people being fairly paid to do the jobs they are asked to do? What are the roles and responsibilities of this job? Is the district competitive in those wages?

Those are the questions that arose at last week’s policy committee meeting.

The results of last year’s efficiency audit found out the district had multiple working calendars.

Superintendent Dr. Adrian Vega said that is not efficient and needs to be amended.

In order for the compensation to be equitable, individuals that are working and being compensated need to be moved to the right work schedule.

For example, for the employees working 250 plus, 240 plus days, if they are not maintenance, they need to be on a 220 day work schedule, Vega said.

Why it matters:

The San Benito School District lags behind the rest of the area and Texas when it comes to teacher and staff compensation.

That is the reason why the board is considering what could be a $5.9 million budget buster that would provide across-the-board raises.

Having teacher salaries at the market rate are expected to both draw and retain higher quality staffers.