By LIBBY CLUETT
Mineral Wells ISD faculty and staff will begin their 2013-14 school year Monday morning and they have something to look forward to.
The school board plans to start off the school year on what will likely be a very popular note, since approving, last Tuesday, pay raises and a new hiring salary schedule.
The board has been working much of the past month on the district’s budget for the coming school year. As a result, it will give an average of 3-percent pay raises for teachers and administrators. However, maintenance, paraprofessionals and food-service staff will all received a 3 percent raise, according to MWISD Superintendent Gail Haterius.
For faculty and administrators, she said, “Its an average of a 3-percent pay raise, depending upon their pay-grade scale and whether they’ve topped out or not.”
Along with the upgrade in pay comes new hiring salaries for teachers and staff.
“The hiring salary schedule increased the beginning teacher pay scale,” Haterius explained. “We are now more competitive with other school districts.”
She said filling positions this year provided some challenges based on the previous hiring salary structure.
“We had about nine prospective teachers who verbally signed on [with MWISD] and called back and said they found a job that pays more [elsewhere],” she said.
Now, new hires with a degree and certification, but no teaching experience will make $34,099 annually or $35,099 with a master’s degree. The Texas Education Agency state minimum salary for the same individual is $27,320.
For a teacher with five year’s experience the TEA minimum is $31,560. MWISD will start now at $37,338 and $38,338 for a teacher with a master’s degree. These amounts are the new minimum salary for new employees and based on a 187-day contract. Non-exempt aides, clerks and food-service staff, likewise, also have a new, higher hiring salary schedule.
Current MWISD teachers always begin day one on a hearty note – with breakfast provided by the Mineral Wells Merchants’ Association Monday morning. Now, they have a little extra, courtesy of the board.
Haterius said she was pleased that the MWISD board acted and approved a pay raise for faculty and staff, “because you can never pay a good teacher what they are truly worth.”
“We appreciate our board for supporting our teachers and employees this way,” she said. “We feel the teachers are the heart of our school and that every adult who works in the school is a teacher in some way.”
The new hiring salary pay scales will be posted on the district’s website, www.mwisd.net.
In other business the board:
• Approved calling for a bond election on Nov. 5 to raise interest-and-sinking taxes by 12 cents per $100 property valuation to support a $25 million bond, primarily for the construction of a new elementary school to replace Lamar. The funds will also go toward campus security upgrades throughout the district and replacing the high school track. The MWISD tax rate, if approved by voters, will increase from $1.29 per $100 taxable property value to $1.42 per $100.
• Heard from Chief Financial Officer Paul Hearn about the forthcoming budget schedule. The next budget workshop meeting is Aug. 22 at 6 p.m. and the district will host a public meeting on the budget, proposed tax rate and final amendment to the 2012-13 budget on Aug. 27 at 6 p.m.
• Recognized the Mineral Wells Merchants’ Association and the Back-to-School Fair committee as August Partners in Education.