Frisco ISD will add staff and increase pay in order to reduce class size, attract and retain quality employees and better support student learning.
The budget for the 2019-20 school year, approved by the School Board Wednesday evening, adds new campus and support positions and makes additional investments in special education, bilingual, STEM and online learning programs, among other priorities.
The vast majority of new spending in the $564.5 million operating budget was made possible through voter approval of the Tax Ratification Election (TRE) in November 2018.
The school district will also receive millions in additional state funding thanks to House Bill 3, the comprehensive school finance bill passed by the legislature. Under the new law, set to take effect Sept. 1, Frisco ISD taxpayers will see more than a 10-cent decrease in the school district’s maintenance and operations tax rate this year, a reduction of approximately 9%.
“Frisco ISD is fortunate to be able to provide meaningful pay raises and increased benefits for staff, while also taking significant steps to reduce class size and improve support in critical areas such as special education,” said School Board President Chad Rudy. “It is especially exciting that all of this is possible at an ultimate savings to FISD taxpayers.”
House Bill 3 requires school districts increase compensation for non-administrative employees in an amount equal to at least 30% of the increase in formula funding. Frisco ISD will more than double that requirement, with raises and an increase in employer-paid health insurance contributions totaling $15.6 million. The District will spend another $1.5 million on raises and benefits for administrative staff.
In addition, the new law requires school districts prioritize compensation for teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses. A special emphasis must be placed on teachers with more than five years of experience, with the goal of keeping experienced teachers in the classroom.
Under the approved budget, FISD will provide all employees on the teacher pay scale with a $2,000 pay raise. Classroom teachers with more than five years of teaching experience, whether in FISD or another district, will receive an additional $500. These increases amount to an average salary increase of 4.58%.
In addition, FISD will raise the starting teacher salary from $53,000 to $54,500 and adjust the teacher pay scale to attract more experienced teachers. Salaries for existing staff will also be increased accordingly to ensure current teachers earn at least what a new hire with similar experience is paid.
All other employees will receive a 3% of midpoint raise, plus market or individual adjustments as applicable, based on market value for similar positions or changes in job duties. These increases amount to an average salary increase of 3.23% to 4.86% depending on job type.
The District will also contribute an extra $25 per month toward employee medical premiums in the 2019-20 school year. The increase in contributions will offset rising health insurance premiums for the most popular plans.
In addition to the new compensation plan, the District will also provide two separate staff incentives paid for using assigned fund balance:
A $250 stipend for each teacher, teacher facilitator or librarian to offset the cost of classroom and teaching supplies; to be paid annually on Sept. 15.
A retention incentive for all eligible employees equal to 1 percent of an employee’s base pay plus $50 for every year of service with FISD, with a minimum of $250 total; to be paid annually on Jan. 15 starting in 2020. Staff must have at least one year of TRS service credit with Frisco ISD as of the first day of school and still be employed with FISD as of the last school day in December.
The budget does not yet reflect the cost of expanding Pre-Kindergarten to full day for eligible four-year-olds, as the District continues to explore the best way to transition from the current half-day program.