This story has been updated.
A week after union members rallied outside the San Antonio Independent School District board meeting calling for more pay, trustees are considering the largest raise for staff in 25 years.
The district announced the proposal in a press release Tuesday following a budget workshop Monday night. The compensation package recommended for the next school year will total almost $20 million, according to the release, with more than half benefiting teachers.
The recommended package includes adjustments to the compensation scales for career teachers and classified workers. Stipends for math teachers, speech and language instructors, and hard-to-staff schools are also proposed as part of the plan.
Details of the plan haven’t yet been finalized, said district spokeswoman Laura Short in an emailed statement.
“The specific details of the $20 million is still being discussed and determined, with a final vote on April 17,” she said. “What the board determined last night was how much the district would spend on its compensation package to demonstrate to our employees how much we value them.”
Previous compensation packages have cost the district $14.9 million in 2022-23, $13.8 in 2019-20, and $13.1 in 2013-14.
Union leaders said outside the board’s meeting last Tuesday that those levels of funding wouldn’t be acceptable this year.
“We’ve been organizing all year to really emphasize how important it is that district leadership do a raise for next year considering the situation that we’re in, in public education,” San Antonio Alliance President Alejandra Lopez told the San Antonio Report.
Lopez said in a statement Tuesday that the union is “excited to continue collaborating on district plans to ensure that our students receive the high-quality education they deserve.”
“Our members have spoken passionately about the importance of a pay raise to attract and retain high-quality staff in every role,” she said. “This compensation package represents a significant investment in the people who educate, feed, transport and support our students, and demonstrates SAISD leadership’s commitment to school workers — the heart of the SAISD familia.”
The union will meet on Saturday and discuss the compensation scenarios presented at Monday’s SAISD board meeting, Lopez said.
Superintendent Jaime Aquino said during the meeting Monday that the district was focused on a sustainable budget at the same time as valuing employees.
“The overarching objective is to offer staff a compensation package that leads the regional market, while remaining within the limits of a five-year plan for a sustainable budget,” Aquino said. “The district has absorbed large expenditure cuts in order to be able to afford this compensation package.”
The district has been making cuts to central and administrative positions in response to falling enrollment in order to maintain a sustainable budget. According to the release, the central office budget reductions equaled $16 million in 2022-23, and an additional $6.5 million will be made in 2023-24.
“Given our current financial situation, the cuts made by administration have been significant and caused sacrifices to be made,” board President Christina Martinez said. “However, there has been much discussion and thoughtfulness in keeping students and teachers at our center and ensuring these budget reductions do not affect our children receiving a high-quality education.”
Specific cuts were not revealed in the release.