Dallas ISD superintendent rallies for teacher pay raises

Dallas ISD has approved a $2 billion budget that would include a pay boost for some of its employees.

Teachers had hoped that during the legislative session some of the state's surplus would go to educators, but that did not happen.

Dallas ISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde has been very vocal on Twitter about lawmakers not committing funding to teacher pay raises. She says while the school board just approved raises locally, it’s not enough. 

During the legislative session, both Republican and Democrat lawmakers said part of the record budget surplus would be spent on giving Texas teachers raises, but that didn’t happen. 

It’s something Elizalde and other educators have been vocal about. 

"I have teachers whose rent went up, whose interest rate on their home mortgage if they were buying anytime recently is much higher than it had been," she said.

School vouchers consumed the education debate in Austin, and still there’s been no progress on raises or vouchers. 

Last week, the Dallas ISD board of trustees approved multiple pay increases. On average, teachers will see a 3% raise. 

"With our teachers and principals, those are on a pay-for-performance. So it’ll be a percentage of where their pay scales are. But roughly a 3.3% increase for our teachers. Some will be above. Some will be below that," Elizalde said.

There will also be retention incentives of $1,000 for district employees. The district minimum wage will go up from $15 to $16 an hour. Support staff will also get raises. 

"Our food service employees, our custodians, our transportation employees, as we all know those hourly employees tend to be at the bottom of pay scales. Those individuals are getting an average of 6% increases," Elizalde said.

Elizalde says Dallas ISD will be operating from a budget deficit, using money that’s been set aside to fund the raises. 

With inflation impacting everyone, Elizalde hopes lawmakers in Austin will pass something this summer to support teachers. 

"Even if I give a 5% or 3% increase, its actually still a decrease when you think of costs escalating," she said.

Elizalde said no chiefs or deputy superintendents will get a pay increase. 

Gov. Greg Abbott has not called a special session yet on education because of the fight over property tax relief. He did say he would call multiple special sessions to address his unfinished priorities, which include an education bill.