Board adopts budget with teacher pay raise

Board adopts budget with teacher pay raise
Posted on 08/23/2013
The Waco Independent School District Board of Trustees adopted a balanced budget for the 2013-14 school year on Thursday, August 22, that includes a pay raise for teachers and additional funding for employee health insurance while maintaining a healthy fund balance.

District officials and school board members credit the 83rd Texas Legislature for partially restoring budget cuts experienced during the last two years. Waco ISD's $115 million budget is approximately $4 million more than the previous year with $3.2 million of that amount attributed to state funding. The District also continues to experience substantial savings in operational costs because of last year's school consolidations.

"Even though state funding cuts and our ensuing consolidations caused plenty of heartaches and gnashing of teeth, we are financially much healthier today than we've been in the past several years," said Superintendent Dr. Bonny Cain. "Being able to give our teachers a four percent raise and make Waco ISD a more attractive place to work are keys to our ongoing improvement."

The budget also enables Waco ISD to have a certified teacher in pre-kindergarten classrooms for the full day. Last year, prekindergarten students had a teacher for half of the day and a teacher's aide for the other half. The District chose to allocate additional resources for pre-kindergarten classrooms after efforts to convince the Legislature to grant full day pre-K funding was denied. District and city leaders both played a role in this legislative push.

"Full day pre-kindergarten is a priority for us," added Cain. "We serve hundreds of children who have never been exposed to books, blocks, puzzles and other educational materials. The sooner we can get them in a classroom all day with a certified teacher, the better they'll perform in subsequent years."

Other items funded by the budget include enhancements to Advanced Academics activities, a middle school theatre program, facility repairs and systems upgrades.

The projected undesignated fund balance is $25.8 million.