EDUCATION

The Killeen Independent School District is looking into ways to give nearly 3,000 teachers pay raises for the next school year.

The school board discussed the teacher salary schedule as a part of the budgeting process Tuesday during a workshop at Roy J. Smith Middle School.

KISD officials are developing a budget for the new fiscal year that begins Sept. 1 and discussed with the school board Tuesday night the potential for pay raises for teachers and all other employees ranging from 1 to 2 percent.

A 2 percent increase would give every district teacher an approximately $1,000 raise, according to school officials.

The Killeen ISD administration also looked at increasing the starting pay for brand-new teachers as the district works to hire up to 500 new teachers for the next school year.

KISD chief communication officer Terry Abbott said raise money would not stem from a tax-raising bond election. Teacher salary comes from the district’s maintenance and operations budget, not the interest and sinking budget a bond election would raise.

“The bond has absolutely nothing to do with teacher salaries,” Abbott said of the $426 million initiative on the May 5 ballot.

No approximate annual expenditure the district would spend on raises was provided in the district’s presentation.

Improving benefit packages for KISD teachers was also discussed, including increasing the $200 teachers receive for opting out district health care.

Superintendent John Craft and board trustees also discussed the possibility of creating a care facility for young children of KISD teachers, which would care for newborns up to 4-year-olds, as an additional benefit.

Craft and trustees hypothesized over what would be a “one-stop shop” for both welfare and early instruction for children of teachers. Such a facility would help leverage young, talented new teachers to join KISD.

Much work in exploring an early childhood facility lies ahead, said board president Corbett Lawler.

In addition, much of the budget still depends on revenue projections and analyzing competitive compensation options once preliminary taxable values come from the Bell County Appraisal District by April 26.

The district is also still working to determine staffing allocations based on needs for the projected 45,000 enrolled students for next school year.

A final budget to the board to consider will be submitted by Aug. 31, according to the workshop agenda.

In other business, a $1.25 million grant through the U.S. Department of Defense could help fund a mobile lab for science, technology, engineering and math in KISD

Trustees discussed a proposal for an educational activity (DoDEA) grant. Funding from such a grant would convert a vehicle into a STEM lab that would travel to targeted elementary schools.

The federal grant is eligible to schools with a military-connected population of 15 percent or greater, a qualification which 26 KISD schools met.

Students would engage in “hands on, project-based learning” focused on engineering and technology, with the integration of mathematics and science into the instruction. Included in the grant would be technology, lab equipment and one teacher’s salary, among various other expenses.

How long the grant would fund the one teacher’s salary was not included in the district’s presentation.

The in-kind district contributions would be the purchase and maintenance of the vehicle, the salary of an instructional aide and a mathematics assessment by the Northwest Evaluation Association.

KISD estimates renovation of a vehicle into a STEM lab would cost roughly $250,000, which would also depend on what vehicle the district would decide on. Approximately $115,000 would be spent on technology inside the lab, district officials estimate.

“This is a start, not the solution,” Craft said regarding the addition of a mobile STEM lab. “But it would be pretty exciting for children to step out of class.”

 Larry Mitchell, Realtor, ABR, CRS, GRI VLB
Century 21 Randall Morris & Associates
254 681 51154 Cell

mpayne@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7553