ROUND ROCK — As Texans across the state lose their jobs and struggle to provide for their families because of government-ordered coronavirus shutdowns, local Central Texas school boards are discussing taking even more money from citizens this year to give raises to their six-figure salaried staff.

Earlier this month, the Round Rock ISD board of trustees was one of the latest in the area to approve multimillion-dollar salary increases for their staff, after postponing the decision for over a month.

The district’s $8.6 million raise will include some for teachers and librarians (general pay increases of $1,100), but the school board is giving much bigger bonuses to the district’s six-figure salaried employees.

For example, the maximum pay for Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Adix will rise over $12,000 to a salary of nearly $209,000, while the max pay for the Chief for Schools & Innovation will soar roughly $20,000 to a salary of over $216,000.

Adix was also the one who presented and recommended the pay increase—and tax rate increase—plan on April 2 to school board trustees.

Even more curiously, Adix and other administrative staff told school board members that the reason for the pay increase was to be competitive for the best teachers—even though earlier in the same meeting, Texas Association of School Boards staff told the board that RRISD’s teacher pay was already either competitive or higher than the local market median.

TASB also said the district’s midrange administration pay grades were already 6 percent above the local market.

So in Round Rock’s case, how is the school board going to pay for all of the raises for their six-figure administrators? The board is considering charging citizens a higher tax bill. Adix recommended keeping next year’s tax rate higher, meaning the average Round Rock homeowner would pay $145 more in their school property tax bill.

That’s on top of the fact that the average district homeowner is already paying $1,200 more to RRISD than they did just six years ago.

Round Rock ISD isn’t the only Central Texas school district doing this, as nearly all area school boards are approving or proposing salary raises. Leander ISD, another suburb of Austin, narrowly passed a 2 percent lump-sum payment bonus for all district employees, even though their finance department predicts this coming year’s budget will have a deficit of as much as $42 million.

Meanwhile, amid school boards giving their six-figure administrators raises and taking more money from citizens, many of the Texans paying for all of it continue to lose their income and are struggling to provide for their families.

Central Texas citizens concerned about their local school board’s spending and upcoming higher tax bills can contact their board members before they finalize tax rates and budgets over the summer.

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.