DISD Announces Teacher Pay Hikes, Staff Cuts

Dallas ISD logo | Image by NBC 5 DFW

Some details of Dallas ISD’s budget for next school year were revealed at Tuesday’s school board workshop, with teacher pay rises and staff cuts on the horizon.

Officials are projecting a $1.9 billion budget next year, although Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde specified it was still a “work in progress,” per The Dallas Morning News. The points guiding the budgeting process include attracting qualified teaching staff by offering competitive wages, continuing to support programs aimed at improving student outcomes, and accounting for a sizeable budget shortfall.

As Elizalde explained regarding the first matter, increasing the minimum teacher salary from $61,000 to $62,000 and bumping up employees’ wages would cost around $34 million. For comparison, the starting salary for a Plano ISD teacher in the 2024-2025 year will be $61,000, up from $60,002 the year prior.

Plano ISD’s board of trustees also approved salary increases for current and new teachers, as well as some staff positions that are more difficult to fill, such as bus drivers and bus driver assistants.

“We want to make sure we stay competitive,” Duana Kindle, chief of employee services at Plano ISD, said during that meeting, per Community Impact.

Plans to cut around 75 full-time central staff positions at Dallas ISD might help defray some of the costs related to teacher and staff salary increases. However, like many North Texas school districts relying on state funds, there are other issues looming.

The district’s student body has been shrinking these past few years, with 157,575 student enrollments in 2011-2012 compared to 139,305 in 2023-2024, per data presented by officials during a budget workshop in January.

The financial impact has been considerable, with state funding per student amounting to $6,160. With 137,529 students expected to be enrolled this coming term, state funding is projected to decrease by nearly $11 million, especially given the attendance-based funding structure. Student absenteeism has become a significant problem nationwide, as The Dallas Express has covered.

As the projected budget for next year currently stands, Dallas ISD will be short by about $186 million. However, the district would still have an estimated fund balance of $553 million, which some officials suggested should be put to use.

“I think our fund balance is far too large,” said Ben Mackey, District 7 trustee, per DMN. “It’s grown quite a bit, but we need to put that money into the kids who are here today that have been impacted by the pandemic.”

The 2024-2025 budget currently projects earmarking over $20 million for teaching materials, $15 million for college guidance and counselors, almost $7 million for discipline “reset centers,” and almost $11 million for tutoring.

While many school systems nationwide saw lackluster academic performances among students in the aftermath of remote learning during the pandemic, Dallas ISD’s issues have been longstanding.

Only 41% of Dallas ISD students hit the at-grade-level mark on the STAAR exam in 2021-2022, whereas the statewide average to do so was 48%, according to the latest available Texas Education Agency accountability report. Meanwhile, just 81.1% of graduating seniors managed to earn a diploma on time at Dallas ISD.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article