Of the $7.2 million allocated for compensation, $1.2 million will be distributed to employees as permanent salary adjustments beginning with the current budget year. The remaining $6 million will be used to sustain the salary adjustments for the next five years without impacting the operating budget. The district will prepare to absorb the permanent salary increases after that time.
All employees of the district will receive a minimum adjustment of 0.75 percent of salary while some will experience additional percentage adjustments depending on how far their salaries are from compensation market targets. Accordingly, not all employees will experience the same percentage adjustments and the higher percentages correlate with the salaries that are farthest from the compensation targets of each employee type. The Superintendent’s salary is not increasing under this plan.
An extensive review of 2011-2012 compensation market data shows that GCISD lags behind area school districts. GCISD teacher pay fails to reach the top 10 of D/FW area school districts. All other non-teaching GCISD employee pay falls below the median of salaries paid currently by 21 districts competing with GCISD for top candidates. Below-market salaries and lower market rankings hamper the district’s ability to recruit and retain top area talent. In recent years, the result has been the loss of key personnel throughout all areas of the district, including teachers, bus drivers and administrators.
The last cost-of-living increase was given to GCISD employees in July 2009 in the amount of 3 percent of salary. Additionally, over the past three years, employees have experienced double-digit percentage increases in their employee health care premiums while also working under reduced campus and departmental budgets as a result of state funding formula deficiencies and recent drastic cuts in state funding. The district has had to mitigate funding cuts by reducing staff by 91 positions to date across all areas of the district, which has placed additional duties and burdens on remaining personnel in what already is regarded as a lean organization.
Despite unprecedented funding cuts and staff reductions, the district has been able to avoid eliminating student programs due, in large part, to thoughtful and conservative financial planning over the past decade. Even still, GCISD salaries overall are below market and, in some cases, significantly below market compensation. Local districts adopting pay increases for employees for the 2012-2013 school year will further compound this situation.
Under the salary adjustment plan, teaching staff will receive $732,779, which represents the largest portion (57.2%) of the allocated monies. Central administration professionals, for the most part, rank among the lowest paid when compared to their peers in Metroplex school districts. Out of 44 employees in this group, 22 are paid below market median salaries while nine are at or over median and 13 do not have comparable market data, although our analysis shows they are considered to be below market. Since the salaries for the majority of these employees are among the lowest in the area, the market analysis indicates they will see some of the largest percentage increases. Of the $1.2 million allocated for salaries this year, nearly $733,000 is going to teaching staff, approximately $211,000 will be go to central administration professionals, and the remaining $256,000 will be distributed among campus leadership and support roles throughout the district.
See a graphical breakdown of average salary increases by employee group
"For years we have wanted to properly compensate our employees but have not been able to because of financial constraints caused by our state funding formula and recent legislative cuts," said Superintendent Dr. Robin Ryan. "As a result, our salaries have not kept up with those in area districts and we have felt the impact. We have had talented and experienced people at all levels of our district leave for higher pay, and we must take advantage of these unexpected revenues to invest in our employees and build a pay structure that supports more competitive salaries."
According to the state comptroller’s office, the federal funds being used to support these adjustments are from the U.S. Minerals Management Service for royalties and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for real estate leases on flood control property. These funds are not tied to any federal support for district programs; they are considered Impact Aid funds which, according to the US Department of Education, can be used in whatever manner the district chooses in accordance with local and state requirements. Since revenue from these sources is unpredictable from year to year, the district cannot permanently budget these funds as they are not guaranteed in subsequent years.
The market salary adjustments are in addition to the budgeted 1 percent cost-of-living increase for all employees that the Board of Trustees adopted in June as part of the 2012-2013 budget. Additionally, if the district’s 2011-2012 expenditures close out at 3 percent less than budgeted, employees will receive a 1 percent one-time payment, which will not become part of the permanent personnel budget. Final budget numbers are expected in October. This portion of the increase will be funded from the operating budget.