Mission school district raises staff salaries

The Mission school district is increasing the salary of all employees come July 1 in an attempt to bring teaching and non-teaching staff up to market averages.

The new pay was approved by the board of trustees for teachers, auxiliary employees, instructional assistants, clerical, technical and administrative employees.

Work to improve employee salaries began two years ago, when the board hired Carol G. Perez as superintendent.

“Once I was hired, as a team of eight, we looked at our teacher pay scales and all of our employees’, and in terms of teacher pay scales in comparison to our peer group school districts, our salary scales for teachers were like number eight or nine,” Perez said Thursday. “We knew that we were losing about 12% of our teachers, and we needed to do a concerted effort to retain our highly qualified teachers and, at the same time, recruit top talent.”

Perez said she and the board made small improvements to employee salaries last year, and this year not only closed the gap between the district’s teacher salary and the market median value, but exceeded it.

The superintendent credited attrition for funding the new salaries.

“In addition, for the last two years we’ve been working with TASB (Texas Association of School Boards), and through a thorough study that they’ve done the last couple of years, we were able to pinpoint areas where we were overstaffed,” Perez said. “Through attrition — when staff members left, those positions were closed — we were able to save a considerable amount of money to be able to provide better salaries.”

In the 2018-19 school year, the starting salary for teachers in the Mission school district was $48,250, while the market median was $47,750. School district teachers with at least five years at the district had a yearly salary of $49,500 while the market median then was $51,000. Teachers with 10 years, 15 years and 20 years with the district continued to make less than the market median for teachers with the same amount of years experience.

With the new increase in pay, the starting salary for teachers in the Mission school district will be $52,470 beginning with the 2020-21 school year, while the market median is $50,000. The salary for Mission teachers will remain above the market median for educators who’ve been at the district for five years, making $53,970; and $57,050 for 10 years, $59,170 for 15 years, and $62,995 for 20 years.

Auxiliary employees, such as custodians and food services, will see an increase of 4% of the midpoint of the pay scale, and instructional assistants, clerical, technical and administrative employees will see an increase of 2.5% of the midpoint.

“For our salary scales for every position of classification, there’s a minimum, a midpoint and a maximum,” Mission CISD Director of Public Relations and Marketing Craig Verley said. “What they did was for each of those salary scales, they all got adjusted upwards so that we’d remain competitive for all those salary scales.”

He explained that the raises are based on the new midpoints.

The board approved the district compensation plan during a meeting Wednesday, along with the 2020-21 budget.

“This has taken us two years, but we are very pleased with the result,” Perez said. “This was a total team effort in working with the school board, our administrative staff and everyone involved. We are very, very excited. We are finally fulfilling our promise to them.”