This week, San Antonio ISD passed its largest employee compensation package in over 25 years, guaranteeing raises from 4-9% for district employees, depending on years of experience.
The vote was unanimous, and the product of months of advocacy and engagement by our members in the San Antonio Alliance, who made significant across-the-board pay raises their top organizing priority at the start of this past school year.
The impact of these raises on the lives of all school employees in San Antonio ISD cannot be overstated , something member Monica Dickson spoke to after the vote.
“I will be receiving close to a 9% raise. This is the largest raise, in one year, that I’ve received since working for SAISD,” said Dickson, a kindergarten teacher who’s been with the district for 24 years. “I didn’t know what my next steps were going to be on March 21, but now, I am no longer on the fence. I am committed to staying in SAISD and serving our community, our SAISD familia.”
The package also raises the district’s minimum wage to $16.50 per hour.
San Antonio Alliance President Alejandra Lopez praised the raise package as “an essential step in retaining and recruiting high-quality school workers our students deserve,” before noting that retaining experienced employees will be critical to the success of the district’s newly approved strategic plan.
To pay for the nearly $20 million package, the district cut $16 million from its central office budget this school year, with another $6.5 million in cuts expected next year. Superintendent Jaime Aquino was quick to point out these long-overdue investments in staff were made possible by making difficult choices within the district.
The Legislature still needs to do its part, and its miniscule proposals for raising the basic allotment will not go far enough.
“I don’t want that narrative with our elected officials in Austin saying, ‘You see, if San Antonio ISD was able to give the largest compensation increase in over 25 years, every single district can do it,’ and not then allocate additional funding,” Aquino said. “Because that is not true. It is with painful cuts that we had to do this and it’s not enough. It’s just the first step.”