Teachers get pay ‘adjustment’ on 4-3 vote
Teachers, and other Rockdale ISD employees who thought their first paychecks of 2012- 13 didn’t make the grade got a little relief Monday from school trustees.
On a 4-3 split vote the board okayed a 2.23-percent salary adjustment for RISD employees.
Salaries have technically been frozen for the past two years.
Meeting in regular session in the Central Administration Building, board members also okayed their state-required school improvement plans and heard Supt. Dr. Howell Wright report on a tax equity lawsuit.
‘ADJUSTMENT’—On Aug. 22, 2011, after salaries were frozen in for the 2011-12 budget, trustees granted a one-time lump sum of $916.70 to employees, excluding Dr. Wright.
That expired, causing some employees to term the situation a “pay cut” in late September.
But board president Lee Jenkins told The Reporter that trustees had not finished talking about teacher salaries for 2012- 13 and would act on the matter.
That’s what happened Monday.
Dr. Wright said $250,000 had been placed in a budget function for use as salaries and recommended the 2.23-percent adjustment.
Board member Lin Perry asked if the action was viewed as a one-time raise or was recurring.
“It’s a one-time salary adjustment for this (2012-13) year,” Dr. Wright said.
Perry asked if an additional kindergarten teacher being hired by the district was to be paid out of the $250,000.
Dr. Wright said that was the case, noting that the sum was already denoted for salary expenses in the budget.
“If we hadn’t used that (budget function), we would either have had to come back to the board to amend the budget or request a class-size waiver from the state,” Dr. Wright said.
The 2.23-percent adjustment passed on a 4-3 vote with Kent Bowermon, Wenda Dyer, Mike Pruett and Jenkins voting in favor and Perry, Troy Zinn and Michelle Lehmkuhl voting against.
Dr. Wright said the adjustment would not be electronically transmitted to employees. “Each one will receive a check and a letter informing them this is a one-time adjustment and will expire,” he said.
IMPROVEMENT—Trustees discussed improvement plans for the high school and junior-high with Dr. Nancy Vaughan “campus intervention” consultant for the state and Pam Kaufmann, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
The two campuses must prepare improvement plans due to “unacceptable” state accountability ratings.
Kaufmann said plans, which are being submitted to the state, contain specific strategies for improvement and goals to measure progress.
SUIT—Dr. Wright said a lawsuit in which RISD and about twothirds of the state’s school districts are plaintiffs will begin Monday in an Austin district court.
He said the districts maintain that recent cuts in education are contrary to sections of the Texas Constitution.
Dr. Wright said a district court decision is forecast by January but an appeal is likely and a final ruling could be a year away.
PRAISE PAUSE—First recognitions in the RISD’s new “Pause for Praise” program were:
Ashley Willard, Nelda Jacobs, elementary; Lisa Meyer, Dyan Shelander, intermediate; Cheryln Ellis, Gloria Zapata, junior high; Christine Williams, John Brown, high school; Dr. Lucile Estell, community volunteer.
In other business, trustees:
• Held a public hearing, and approved the district’s Financial Integrity System of Texas (FIRST) rating. Rockdale ISD received a “superior” score, the highest rating.
• Hired Carrie Cox as a kindergarten teacher for the remainder of 2012-13.
• Heard counselor Lynette Guerra report one 2011-12 senior and 15 current seniors still need to master sections of TAKS exit-level test to receive diplomas.
• Heard Mickie Daniels report on the English as a Second Language (ESL) program and TELPAS testing.
• Approved a $12,728,567.75 tax levy for 2012-13.
• Decided to renew the district’s power of eminent domain, which is scheduled to expire, even though the RISD has no current plans to invoke it.
• Okayed a district technology plan for 2013-16.