Superintendent Jack Gaskins said he appreciated the school board members for working hard in three workshops that focused on compensation and benefits for teachers.
“It makes us more competitive, and our teachers deserve a raise,” Gaskins said.
Unfortunately, the district received word that what was expected in values for the district was $35 million less than what it was told in April.
Gaskins said that equates to $330,000 taxable revenue that the district is not going to realize.
“We believe it’s time to be prudent,” he added.
Still, the school board voted on several measures to ensure a raise and benefits to the district’s employees.
Teachers with bachelor’s degrees will receive an increase of $4,500 above the state base.
Teachers with master’s degrees will receive $5,500 above the state base.
Paraprofessionals and auxiliary staff will receive a $1,000 increase in salary.
And all full-time employees will receive a $500 one-time lump sum paid in December.
The one-time lump sum excludes the superintendent, who received a $5,000 raise in January upon the renewal of his contract.
All other administrators will receive 5 percent of the mid point on the administrator’s pay scale.
Also, district employees who are on the insurance program will receive $139 toward their health insurance paid in September.
The district already pays $251 per employee. The total cost of the insurance benefit is $46,800 and will be taken from the district’s fund balance.
Also, teachers who reached the Step 20 level of the salary schedule will now have a chance for increases.
School trustees removed the Step 20 cap and raised it to a Step 25. This affects six additional teachers’ salaries that were frozen.
“This makes us more competitive on the pay scale,” said board member Andy Rocha.
“There’s not a teacher out there who doesn’t deserve a raise,” said board member George Jaso.
But Jaso also noted that the board has to think of the taxpayers in the district, as well, when figuring raises.
“We need to show our teachers some appreciation,” said board member Dr. Gary Wright.
Rocha added that next year the district will have to throw some more money into payroll or it will be back where it started.
Gaskins also noted that the most recent STARR scoring for Refugio will be released on Aug. 8.
Preliminary scoring from spring numbers on the Texas Education Agency website did not account for students who retook the tests.
Gaskins, who has had a preview of the latest numbers, said overall the district did well compared to state standards.
He said there is concern over 4th grade scoring and special programs and efforts to correct the concern are in place.
Also, new teachers for the 2013-14 school year were introduced:
Holly Stein, elementary/high school, art; Joe Bob Ratliff, social studies/coach; David Torch, band director; Angelica Galvan, assistant band director; Ariel Aleman, assistant elementary principal.
Also, Lisa Castillo, math; William Cockerill, business/computer; Alicia Pursch, English; Tammy Reeves, chemistry; Pricilla Meza, third/fourth grade social studies; Meagan Markert, PE/girls athletics; Virginia Gilstrap, English; Renee Deaver, math; and Stacie Carvajal, second grade.