By BOB PALMER
Jimplecute News Editor
JEFFERSON – Teachers and staff with Jefferson ISD will see significant increases in their pay to kick off the new school year, according to Superintendent Rob Barnwell. Local taxpayers, when they get their tax statement in October, will also notice a lower tax rate for the schools.
The Texas House voted 139-0 and the Senate voted 30-0 to approve the final negotiated version of House Bill 3 in the final hours of the legislative session that ended in May. The bill includes $6.5 billion to improve public education and pay teachers, plus $5.1 billion to lower school district taxes.
“It’s still just a guess at this point since we won’t be getting our T-2 values from the state comptroller until next January,” Barnwell said. “However, our guess is between 1.1 to 1.2 million more dollars in new funding.” The new money goes to one place.
“Approximately, all of that money will go toward teacher and staff raises,” Barnwell said. “None will go for” administration salaries. Barnwell estimates the average raise for a teacher will be $7,000. “The smallest increase will be $4,793 from last year for a teacher who is entering their 2nd year of teaching at JISD,” Barnwell explained.
“The largest increase is about $8,123 for teachers with the most experience.” Even the bottom rung on the teaching ladder has gotten higher. “A beginning teacher on a ten-month contract will make $35,660 for a base salary,” Barnwell said.
Barnwell explained every district in the state has struggled to master the new funding and salary formulas. “The new state-mandated salary schedules, along with the additional funding, has obviously made our budget rise with those corresponding amounts,” Barnwell said.
“Some schools are expecting quite a bit more extra funding than what they’ll need in order to finance the new pay raises. A few others are not even getting enough to support the new mandated raises. Then some districts are just getting about what is needed to “scrape by”.”
“I’d say JISD is one of the latter – getting just enough to pay for the mandated raises,” Barnwell concluded. The new school finance law also impacts property taxes. “Our M&O tax rate will be lowered from 1.04 to .97 for 2019-20,” Barnwell said.
“We expect our I&S tax rate to be lowered from .08830 to approximately .08589.” The new combined tax rate of $1.05589 will be down from last year’s $1.12830. The tax rate won’t be set until the school board’s final meeting during the final week of August.
Print Subscription for Marion County & Surrounding Counties (Online subscription included)
Your online subscription will begin immediately. Print subscription will begin in approximately 1-2 weeks. Thank you for your subscription and for reading the Jimp!