May 2017, Vol. 1

Districts cautiously approach pay increases for 2017‒18

by Troy Bryant

Pay raises are in a holding pattern for 2017‒18 in Texas schools, with overall expected increases unchanged from last year, according to the latest prospective pay raise poll conducted by TASB HR Services.
 
In addition, the annual survey finds 76 percent of responding public school districts anticipate giving a pay raise for 2017‒18 (down slightly from 78 percent in last year’s poll).

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Of the districts planning a salary increase, the median pay raise is 2 percent for each surveyed pay group—teachers, administrators/professionals, and clerical paraprofessionals/auxiliary. Last year’s actual median teacher pay increase was 2.2 percent, according to the 2016‒17 TASB Salary Survey.

In ESCs 4–Houston and 10–Richardson, more than 90 percent of responding districts expect to give a raise, while only about half of participating districts plan pay raises in ESCs 14–Abilene and 16–Amarillo (53 and 54 percent, respectively). In Central Texas, 76 percent of districts in ESCs 13–Austin and 20–San Antonio project pay increases for their employees.
 
Responses also vary by Texas Education Agency (TEA)-defined community types, which accounts for such factors as enrollment, enrollment growth, economic status, and proximity to urban areas. Of the eight district types measured, those with the highest percentage of respondents anticipating a pay increase included major urban (100 percent), other central cities (93 percent), and major suburban (88 percent). Independent towns and rural communities had the lowest number of respondents planning to give a pay increase (63 and 66 percent, respectively).

Among respondents intending to give an increase to teachers, 29 percent expect to give a 2 percent raise followed by 22 percent intending to give an increase of 3 percent. Thirty-four percent of districts expect to provide an increase that is less than 2 percent.

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The breakdown by region shows that ESCs 18–Midland (3 percent), 5–Beaumont (3 percent), 2–Corpus Christi (2.5 percent), and 10–Richardson (2.5 percent) have the highest median increases, while ESCs 14–Abilene (1.25 percent) and 20–San Antonio (1.75 percent) have the lowest median increases. Administrator and nonexempt pay increases in these regions generally followed similar trends. 
 
By community type, major urban districts indicated the lowest median pay increases (1.5 percent) across all job groups, while non-metropolitan fast growing districts had the highest median (3 percent). Major suburban districts expect to give a 2.5 percent median pay increase.
 
A closer look at the smallest and largest districts by student enrollment size shows that 68 percent of districts with fewer than 1,000 students plan to provide a pay raise. In large districts with 10,000 or more students, 91 percent intend to give a pay raise.
 
In addition, districts were asked how teacher pay increases would be calculated. Nearly half (44 percent) indicated a step increase only, while 33 percent reported a raise based on the pay range midpoint or market value—nearly unchanged from last year’s response rate. For administrators/professionals and clerical paraprofessionals/auxiliary, 47 percent and 48 percent indicated a pay increase based on the pay range midpoint or market value, respectively.

The poll was conducted in April 2017 and includes responses from 336 Texas public school districts across all enrollment sizes. It is the sixth year HR Services has surveyed member school districts, providing an early picture of pay increases statewide. Survey respondents received a summary report of the results. Projected pay increases reported by participants may be pending final board approval.