Another San Antonio-area school district has approved state-mandated compensation increases for teachers and district staff with new money from House Bill 3.

Southwest Independent School District trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a pay raise of 3.5 percent for teachers, librarians, nurses, and counselors with four years or less experience. On average, this group will receive a pay increase of $2,080 annually.

Teachers, librarians, nurses, and counselors with five or more years experience will receive a 4.5 percent increase, or $2,600. All other positions will receive a 3 percent raise. Collectively, the raises will cost the district $3.1 million.

All Texas school districts are required to use 30 percent of the funding made available through House Bill 3, the Legislature’s major school finance reform package, to improve compensation. Legislators also required districts to provide additional compensation for teachers with more than five years in the classroom.

The district’s approved compensation plan exceeds the 30 percent requirement. Southwest ISD, which serves almost 14,000 students, employs 988 teachers, librarians, counselors, and nurses.

Brandon Crisp, the district’s assistant superintendent of business and finance, said Tuesday the district will get about $7.5 million in new revenue from the state in the next fiscal year, about $6 million less than previous projections from the Legislative Budget Board.

San Antonio-area school boards have spent the summer formulating compensation increases. Local districts have approved increases of at least 3 percent in salary for teachers and district staff. Some, including Harlandale and Northside ISDs, have approved pay raises of more than 4 percent.

The raises approved Tuesday by trustees Sylvester Vasquez, Ida Sudolcan, James Sullivan, and Florinda Bernal, keeps Southwest ISD competitive with other San Antonio districts, Crisp said.

“I think that will keep us well in the ballpark. We will be not quite leading off but we will be batting No. 2, and that’s good,” Vasquez said. “I think our teachers will be happy. The one thing I think is a conversation for another day is still that substitute pay.”

Superintendent Lloyd Verstuyft and Crisp said pay increases for substitute teachers could be discussed at a future meeting. The district also plans to study compensation in nearby districts soon, Verstuyft said.

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Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.