Amarillo Independent School District trustees signed off on the district’s budget last month, amid protests by members of a local professional association.

During the AISD board of trustees’ most recent meeting, trustees voted unanimously to approve the district budget for the upcoming school year, which included some pay increases for educators and district staff members. In total, the $316 million budget will include a 6 percent pay increase for hourly district staff, a 4 percent pay increase for teachers with a possible $500 stipend for those holding more than six years of experience, and a $5 per day pay increase for substitute teachers. The budget will also include a 3.5 percent pay increase for administrators.

Additional funds were available due to the passage of House Bill 3, which enabled AISD’s governing body to offer the pay increase. However, the pay increases were not what some educators had hoped to see approved.

“The administrative proposal made progress on some of our demands, and fell disappointingly short on many others,” Amarillo Education Association President Aaron Phillips said via a Facebook post.

AEA members, according to a press release, had been seeking between 4.5 and 5.5 percent pay increases for teachers, depending on experience, as well as 6 percent pay increases for hourly employees. The organization had also been calling for trustees to provide more special education teachers for the district as well as dedicated dyslexia teachers.

This will mark the second fiscal year for AISD in which district staff will see a pay increase. Trustees voted last year to provide a 2 percent pay increase for professional staff and a 2.5 percent pay increase for hourly staff.

Thomas Warren

Thomas Warren, III is the editor-in-chief of the Amarillo Pioneer newspaper in Amarillo, Texas.