Houston Schools New Budget Brings Needed Money For Teachers And Improvements

Houston schools teachers have not had significant pay raise in​ seven years. the​ new Houston schools budget plans for an​ average 8.6 percent pay raise for teachers for the​ 2006-07 school year,​ with a​ total of​ $49.2 million in​ funding. the​ state is​ providing $31 million for the​ pay raises,​ and the​ Houston schools are providing $18.2 million from their own revenues. an​ additional $8 million increase also is​ included for teacher performance pay.

This is​ all part of​ the​ Houston schools proposed $1.4 billion budget for the​ 2006-07 school year,​ and the​ Houston schools will NOT increase school tax property rates by the​ allotted four cents per $100 of​ property.

The Houston schools believe the​ pay raises should make their district more competitive to​ attract more teaching talent. Newly recruited teachers will start at​ $40,​268,​ an​ increase from last year’s $36,​050 starting pay.

The Houston schools proposed budget also includes the​ following:

• $1.9 million for principal and assistant principal pay raises of​ 5.1 percent. Again,​ the​ Houston schools intent is​ to​ make their district more competitive. This also includes additional incentives for principals of​ larger schools and/or those with higher numbers of​ disadvantaged students and gifted and talented students,​ which require more oversight and innovation to​ educate.
• $3 million to​ help academically struggling Houston schools.
• $4.8 million more for elementary and middle schools.
• $12 million for small-sized Houston schools that do not receive as​ much per-student funding but need the​ revenues for instructional improvements.
• More than $10 million to​ help bring school buildings up to​ standard.
• $25.1 million for overall school building maintenance.
• $927,​300 (nearly $1 million) to​ maintain the​ increased police and K-9 presence at​ the​ Houston schools.
• Four percent raise across the​ board for school bus drivers,​ cafeteria workers,​ custodians and hourly employees.
• Four percent raise for Houston schools administrators.

This is​ all from the​ proposed budget’s General Fund,​ which increases by 5.7 percent under the​ Houston schools new plan. the​ Houston schools additional revenue for the​ coming school year comes from the​ increase in​ local property values and the​ state’s newly adopted school finance system,​ which shifts more of​ the​ funding of​ public education burden to​ the​ state. This decreases the​ cost of​ education for the​ local taxpayers from the​ 87.1 percent last year to​ only 77.6 percent for school year 2006-07.

Separate from the​ General Fund is​ a​ special appropriation from the​ state legislature for the​ Houston schools. it​ will place $11.8 million more next year into improving high schools,​ with each receiving an​ extra $187 in​ per student funding. the​ Houston schools intend to​ add an​ additional $39 per student to​ this special appropriation,​ based upon the​ types of​ students and specific needs of​ each school.

Lastly,​ the​ Houston schools put aside extra money this year to​ cover the​ cost of​ fuel for school vehicles and electricity. the​ Houston schools have a​ total of​ 1,​000 buses and other vehicles in​ its fleet. They expect the​ cost of​ fuel to​ increase by $3 million. the​ cost of​ electricity for Houston schools is​ expected to​ increase by $9.1 million over last year’s expenditure.

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