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Trustees Approve Budget With Additional Employee Compensation Payments

The Crowley ISD Board of Trustees has unanimously approved a budget for the 2019-20 school year that includes two extra payments representing 3-4% of employees’ annual salaries for all district staff. The budget also includes funding for the new Employee Health Clinic for staff and eligible dependents to utilize for affordable health care.
 
The additional compensation will be split equally into two separate payments made to employees in November 2019 and March 2020and will be in lieu of permanent salary increases for this school year. 
 
The House Bill 3 (HB 3) school finance law provides districts additional funds to pay teachers, librarians, nurses and counselors. Crowley ISD will exceed the new state compensation requirements with the following extra payments:
 
• Teachers, librarians and nurses will receive two extra payments representing 4% of their base pay, on average. The payments will consist of $1,500 plus an additional $800 for zero to five years of experience or $1,000 for six or more years of experience.

• Counselors will receive two extra payments totaling 3% of the midpoint in their pay grade, plus an additional $800 for zero to five years of experience or $1,000 for six or more years of experience.

• All other employees will receive two extra payments totaling 3% of the midpoint in their pay grade.

Additional Compensation Payments
Though HB 3 provides districts with additional funding for employee compensation, the exact amount varies greatly from district to district, and the additional funding is not guaranteed beyond 2020. 
 
Superintendent Dr. Michael McFarland recommended the two additional payments instead of permanent salary increases as an investment in the district’s employees in the midst of a major overhaul of the school finance system. 
 
“Though we were glad to see lawmakers approve additional funding to better compensate educators, there are still many unknowns about HB 3 and how long this extra money will be provided,” McFarland said. “The Board of Trustees and I believe these two additional payments are the most fiscally responsible way to not only meet, but exceed the requirements of HB 3 as we maintain Crowley ISD’s competitive salaries.”
 
Prior to HB 3, the district had not expected to be able provide employee raises or additional compensation this school year. The district was previously able to provide 3% raises for six consecutive years, and paraprofessionals most recently received a 4% raise. During the 2018-19 school year, Crowley ISD ranked seconded in the western Metroplex for highest starting teacher pay, with a salary of $54,590.
 
The budget also includes funding for the district’s new Employee Health Care Clinic that will be available beginning in August. For a minimal, out-of-pocket fee of $10 per visit, eligible employees and their dependents will be able to visit the Texas Health Physicians Group clinic for a wide variety common "in-scope" clinical services, such as treating sinus infections or colds, among many other ailments. 
 
Crowley ISD’s 2019-20 general operating budget totals $159.8 million. Debt service expenditure is $33.2 million. The budget for food service was approved for $9 million.