Dallas ISD’s proposed budget of $1.8 billion includes money to raise the minimum wage, covers slide COVID-19

Dallas ISD’s proposed budget of $1.8 billion includes money to raise the minimum wage, covers slide COVID-19

Dallas school leaders have until the end of July to complete their application with full details on how all of the funding will be spent. Districts can only access their money after state officials approve the application. The district plans to use the federal money in a number of ways, including a large-scale initiative that will bring 1,800 tutors into classrooms and paying for COVID-19 related expenses dating back to March 2020. Pay increases

“We had the Legislature. We had the feds,” Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said. “The feds were going to give us some money, and the Legislature said we’ll send you a notice on how later.” School leaders feared that they would have to dig into DISD’s savings to pay for the ambitious undertaking of helping students recover from the pandemic’s many disruptions.

This spring, news arrived from state officials that billions in various federal pandemic aid would soon be on its way to school districts across Texas. Dallas is set to receive up to $785 million and must spend much of it before September 2023. Crafting the budget, which will be adopted on June 24, was no easy feat as the amount of money Dallas schools have to work with next fall changed dramatically in recent months.

But the 7% raise didn’t make it into the final budget draft. The average teacher will receive an increase of 2.2% to 2.6%, district staff said Thursday. Teachers receiving boosted pay from Teacher Excellence Initiative, or TEI, would receive increases between $1,250 and $2,000 depending on their effectiveness level. The total cost of this pay bump for all TEI-eligible employees amounts to $17.1 million. “We give 212% effort to serve our students, and we should have affordable, quality health care, a ventilation system that brings in fresh air and time to take care of our mental and physical health,” Brenda Jackson, a teacher at J.P. Starks Math Science and Technology Vanguard, told the board during a May meeting where dozens of educators expressed their support for the Alliance’s proposal.

In May, the group asked for a 7% raise for teachers to compensate for wage stagnation and the cost–of-living inflation during the pandemic and a 5% raise for support staff with a $1,000 bonus. One of Dallas’ large teacher unions, the Alliance-AFT, demanded that the district provide significant pay raises for employees.

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