BCISD employees all getting raises

By Lew K. Cohn
Managing Editor
Burnet Bulletin
All Burnet Consolidated Independent School District employees will be receiving a pay raise after the board of trustees voted unanimously to give a three-percent midpoint general pay increase at Monday's regular meeting.
New hires among classroom teachers, librarians and nurses will receive a starting salary of $44,000 per year. This represents an increase of $3,500 above the prior starting salary of $40,500. When total compensation is factored in, including benefits, it will put Burnet CISD in the top 5 among area school districts in pay for beginning teachers, said director of human resources Contessa Huffman.
The only districts that will have higher compensation for new teachers — Eanes ISD, Leander ISD, Georgetown ISD and Pflugerville ISD — are all larger than Burnet CISD.
“This places us extremely high in our competitive market,” Huffman said. “We will be the leader among districts our size in the area.”
Superintendent Keith McBurnett said Burnet CISD passed the largest pay increase in the state, based on percentage of salary.
“The percentage that we are raising salaries is the leader in the state,” McBurnett said. “No one else is at three percent or higher. The most I have seen elsewhere is two or 2.5 percent, so it is very exciting that we are able to do that for our employees.”
Administrative/professional, clerical/paraprofessional and auxiliary staff are also reeiving a three percent midpoint general pay increase.
Emails with videos explaining how the pay increase works were sent out Monday night to every employee, Huffman said. Every employee will also receive a salary letter detailing his or her new salary.
“We believe that to be the best way to get this information out to explain the salary increase to staff with less than two weeks to go in the school year,” Huffman added.
For teachers, librarians and nurses, the pay increase is derived by taking the midpoint of the teacher compensation scale, step 15, and then determining what three percent of the salary would be. Step 15 salary for the 2016-17 fiscal year was $47,649, so three percent would be $1,429.47. To make things easier, the district rounded that amount to $1,500, which is the amount of the increase every teacher, librarian and nurse will receive in 2017-18.
A teacher who was at step 15 in 2016-17 will now earn $49,149 at step 16 in 2017-18. A teacher who was at step 14 in 2016-17 will now earn $48,500 at step 15 in 2017-18. A teacher who was maxed out at $56,095 for step 30 and beyond in 2016-17 will now earn $57,595 in 2017-18.
These amounts do not include stipends earned for being bilingual, having a master's degree, coaching, band, UIL sponsors, department heads or other extracurricular advisory positions.
The implementation cost for this salary increase for teachers, librarians and nurses is $428,500, which will be funded by an increase in revenue projections for 2017-18, Huffman said.
Salary increases for administrators, clerical and auxiliary staff are determined by taking the midpoint salary on the compensation plan found on the district website and multiplying by 0.03 to determine the three percent MGPI.
For example, a clerical employee in pay grade 1 could expect to make an extra 42 cents per hour as that is equivalent to three percent of the midpoint salary of $14 per hour. An auxiliary employee in pay grade 1 could expect to make an extra 34 cents per hour as that is equivalent to three percent of the midpoint salary of $11.28 per hour. Total implementation cost for administrative, clerical and auxiliary staff increases is $185,950.
Earlier this month, the board learned property values in the district are expected to increase by as much as six percent, according to the Burnet Central Appraisal District, while weighted average daily attendance (WADA) is expected to increase as well, increasing district projected revenues by nearly $1.23 million for the 2017-18 fiscal year, according to BCISD financial director Clay Goehring.
In other action Monday night, the board canvassed election results and welcomed new board members Suzanne Brown and Mark Kincaid, who were sworn in by Sharon Schwartz, administrative assistant to McBurnett.
The board also approved meal prices for the 2017-18 school year, including $2.40 for student lunches at the elementary schools, $2.90 for student lunches at the secondary schools, $3.70 for adult lunches at all schools and $2.20 for adult breakfasts at all schools. Student breakfasts are free at all campuses.
The federal government requires all schools participating in the free and reduced lunch program to meet a certain ratio on pricing for non-subidized meals. This year, that meant the district had to approve a 4.64 percent price increase on student lunches, which comes up to a 10-cent increase on the average, Goehring told board members.

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