Plainview school board grants pay raises for district employees – Plainview Daily Herald

Pay raises are in store for Plainview Independent School District educators and staff members.

The Plainview ISD School Board unanimously approved increases in pay Thursday night for all district employees, including substitutes.  

Returning educators and librarians who spent at least a semester with the district through the 2020-2021 school year will receive an extra $2,500. Brandy Merrick, chief people officer, said the average teacher salary across the district is $50,000 and the $2,500 amounts to 5% of that.

Other employees – administrators, the custodial and maintenance teams, paraprofessionals, professionals and support staff – who return for the 2021-2022 school year will receive an increase of 3% of the midpoint pay for their corresponding pay step plans.

“We feel our staff has earned that,” said Superintendent H.T. Sanchez.

The raise keeps the district competitive within its market, Merrick said.

While the pay raise will be notable among returning employees’ paychecks, the increase will also apply to starting pay for new and future employees. The starting pay for new employees will be higher than that of seasoned employees, Merrick explained.

The anticipated budget impact is about $1.3 million for the district.

The pay increase is the 10th approved for Plainview ISD in as many years.

The increased cost of living is one factor that led to the decision to grant another raise.

Raises will be implemented for every district employee except the superintendent.

The district will also contribute more to employee health plan costs.

Board members unanimously approved a $31 dollar contribution increase for employee healthcare plan per month.

The district is required to contribute $150 to employee insurance plans, Merrick said. Plainview ISD contributes more than double that amount. The district and the state will now cover $402 of an employee’s health care plan each month. The district’s contribution is now $327 and the state’s remains at $75.

The increase will impact the district’s budget by about $216,500.

 Substitute teachers and teacher’s aides will also receive higher pay for the 2021-2022 school year.

Teachers’ aides will now receive $65 per day – the first increase since 2001.

Substitute teachers will also receive more based on education levels. Substitute teachers with no degree will receive $80 per day, those with a degree will receive $90 per day and those with a degree and a teacher certification will receive $100. This is the first increase for these rates since 2010.

The district will also pay long-term substitutes an additional $30 per day based on the credentials previously listed.

The increase was implemented with the idea to maintain competitive rates compared to neighboring districts in an effort to keep substitutes, Sanchez explained.

School districts have experienced a shortage of substitutes – a problem amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also noted that some of the district’s substitutes end up joining the district.

“Some of our best subs always become paraprofessionals,” Merrick said.

The district maintained about 30 substitutes who became support staff through the COVID-19 pandemic and helped fill in for short- and long-term absences, she added.

Good subs are a necessity for the district and, Sanchez noted later, they’re “always tough to come by.”

For the first time, the district will also pay stipends to mentor teachers and employees who provide translation services.

It takes time to be a teaching mentor, Sanchez said.

“First year teachers need support,” he added.

Starting in the 2021-2022 school year, teachers who agree to be mentors to new educators will receive a $1,000 yearly stipend distributed in two $500 payments – one in December and one in June.

The district will also pay between $750 to $1,000 to staff members who can provide language translation services throughout the year.

In a presentation given before discussion of stipends, Director of Language Acquisition Mary Sanchez noted that translation services are primarily needed for Spanish language speakers across the district. However, there are also a handful of families who speak Chinese, Korean and/or Vietnamese.

Individuals who take on the supplemental duty of providing translation services will be tested on how well they can communicate the language they would potentially translate.

Prior to pay increase discussions, the school board also approved use of ESSER III funds allocated for school districts through the American Rescue Plan. The district issued a public notice last week to inform the community of its plans to apply for the funding and invited the public input.

The funding was designated to help make up for learning gaps created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

All items were approved unanimously with 5-0 votes during Thursday’s meeting. Board members Tyler James and Adam Soto were absent.