TASB identifies disparity in SBCISD teachers’ salaries

Managing Editor

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San Benito CISD officials identified overstaffing and a disparity in pay as chief among their concerns when considering the 2014-15 school district budget as well as proposed salary adjustments for employees.

SBCISD Board President Arnold Padilla, who since taking office in May has raised concerns that the school district may be overstaffed when considering the amount of students enrolled, spoke candidly Tuesday when asked about a special meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28.

At the meeting, board members are expected to discuss and take possible action on the proposed budget, including “Market Value Salary Adjustments” recommendations made by the Texas Association of School Boards.

However, a TASB salary survey – referred to as the SBCISD Compensation Plan Update – raised eyebrows within the district, Padilla notwithstanding.

“TASB presented other districts’ numbers, and one thing that stood out clearly was – in comparing the 12 districts to us – we do have tremendously more staff members than other districts,” Padilla said.

The board president was specifically referring to SBCISD employing more than 1,700 people for a district that enrolls 10,780 students – this based on average daily attendance. Padilla argued that Los Fresnos CISD, where 10,545 students (ADA) are enrolled, employs more than 200 employees less than San Benito with 1,454.

“We need to have an answer to that,” Padilla said. “Why do we have such disparity in staffing between two districts that are the same type of educational facility with the same demographics? When you look at things like that, and they jump out at you, understand that there’s no doubt we want to pay our employees well. But we also want to do it in a manageable fashion.”

What Padilla found equally alarming was TASB’s findings regarding teacher pay.

The following are the “overarching issues” identified in TASB’s summary:

• Teacher pay is not competitive with peer districts, particularly Harlingen CISD who is a major competitor in the area;

• Perceived increasing disparity in pay between incumbents in comparable jobs and peer to peer;

• The district does not have a professional level HR position allocated – primarily to direct and manage the human resource function including employee relations, staffing, leave, contracts, legal compliance and wage administration;

• The district does not have formal pay guidelines to administer pay decisions fairly, consistently and equitably;

• Police officer pay is not competitive with peer districts on an annual salary basis. SBCISD police officers work a 187 duty schedule whereas the market average is 232 days. As of the report date (July 24, 2014), the district has adjusted the duty schedule for police officers to 226 days.

TASB also provided a teacher salary schedule comparison, which showed that SBCISD salaries for educators begin at $39,000 while the local market median is $43,000. This is a trend that’s also seen for five-, 10-, 15- and 20-year salaries ranging from $2,450 to $4,311 in median differences. The average salary for SBCISD teachers is $46,404 compared to the $48,959 reported for the local market median.

In addition, TASB reported that salaries for 15 benchmark administrator jobs are “2 percent below market value (98 percent), excluding Communications Officer and District Testing Coordinator.”

“Most of these positions are paid within 10 percent of market value, which is considered to be within a competitive market range,” TASB’s findings read. “Only two positions are paid more than 10 percent below market (Director of Transportation and Chief of Police). The Communications Officer works 20 days less than the market average. When adjusted for the difference in the duty schedule, the position is paid slightly more than 10 percent above market (111 percent).

Similar findings were reported for SBCISD principals.

“Pay is below market median values for all levels of principal and assistant principal positions except the middle school assistant principal job paid at market,” the TASB report states. “SBCISD elementary school principals work seven days less than the market average. When adjusted for the difference in the duty schedule, the position is paid at 93 percent of market. Of this group, the middle school principal job has the lowest relationship to the market median at 88 percent of market.”

Disparities were also found in professional positions.

“Salaries for 12 benchmark professional jobs are 4 percent below market value (96 percent), excluding Diagnostician, Energy Manager, LSSP, SLP and SLPA,” the report continued. “More than half of the positions are paid within 10 percent of market value. The Social Worker position is the least competitive of this group at 77 percent of market. Two positions, Occupational Therapist and LSSP, are paid more than 10 percent above the market.”

Such information was compiled, according to TASB, during the course of two days in January in which district administrators and human resources consultants provided “detailed information about their department‐specific issues related to compensation and classification.”

TASB made six recommendations priced into two models – Model 1’s total annual cost for implementation of all recommendations is $3,091,676; Model 2’s cost is $2,309,663.

Also recommended were changes to the district’s pay system management, which included: regularly adjusting salary ranges in response to market changes; providing pay increases based on a percentage of the range midpoint; paying at least the minimum rate of pay; not advancing pay beyond the maximum of the range; and following administrative procedures that address employee pay actions such as job classifications, promotions, reassignments and new hire salary placement.

In response to TASB’s findings, Padilla said, “I agree with the study that the school staffing needs to be adjusted in some form or another, and I understand that teachers are underpaid based on that study. I personally think that the district is overstaffed and I’ve brought that concern to the table in every workshop we’ve discussed it in. I’ve also done my own personal research on revenue data that’s available on the TEA site, and the issue is as long as we’re overstaffed we’re never going to be in a position in which we can pay our employees what they’re worth.”

Padilla added, “I know we’re all compassionate to the issue of wanting to pay our employees well, but – again – if your budget cannot sustain such salary increases there’s not much you can do. You have to find solutions to the problem, and the solution is minimizing staffing over a number of years. Of course we cannot do that immediately, but I have challenged our staff to put together a detailed reduction plan to make us more comparable to neighboring districts.”

Furthermore, Padilla said implementing all of TASB’s recommendations may also create a multi-million dollar deficit. “I feel uncomfortable approving a budget at that value,” he noted. “Let’s see if we can balance the budget before we consider the salary survey.”

Editor’s Note: For TASB’s survey, click here.


Permanent link to this article: https://www.sbnewspaper.com/2014/08/26/tasb-identifies-disparity-in-sbcisd-teachers-salaries/


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    • Property Owner on September 1, 2014 at 4:11 pm
    • Reply

    This district can’t seem to get a handle on its board of trustees. Wonder why? Maybe it is because they will tell this person and that person what they want to hear to get elected. It is no secret in this town what has happened. But before we continue to point fingers at anybody let us remember that YRG and her control of the board is the same thing Mr. Padilla is doing. We all know it is true. Call it what it is.
    So until a new superintendent can come in and work with ALL these People WHO THINK THEY KNOW MORE THAN AN EDUCATED SUPT. nothing will change. The only thing that will change is the the name plate on the supt. chair.
    I don’t know how this district is ever going to return to a Recognized District. I wish it would.
    Only time will tell and until that time my children will stay at IDEA.

  1. The no action voted on pay raises, shows what this board is all about! Super President did not hesitate to vote with Anna Cruz, Mendes and Medrano on the $800k plus program ( which includes 13 new teachers and 1 administrator), but we’re over staffed according to Super President. I have to agree with the previous bloggers, he has turned out to be the biggest joke along with the other idiots( Anna, Mendes and Medrano). We all have realized this board is the worst board ever! 2015 can’t come fast enough, Anna Cruz is OUT!!!!! Guaranteed

    • Rivera on August 30, 2014 at 3:16 pm
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    Teachers and staff deserve the raise.

    • Chris on August 29, 2014 at 1:17 pm
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    San Benito News, thank you for sharing the survey results with the community. The information is mind boggling. How is it that the Communications Officer is well above the market value (and works 20 days less than the market average) while campus principals are well below? The disparities are shameful to say the least.

    • Only Two on August 28, 2014 at 9:59 pm
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    So did the teachers and staff get a raise?
    Board meeting was tonight – Thursday.

      • Betty Haus on August 30, 2014 at 7:28 pm
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      Sadly, the staff at SB did not get a raise…to no one’s surprise, there is no money to reward employees for their hard work, dedication and effort (according to McCall and Mr Limon). While attending Thursday’s meeting, Super Arnold stated that the district was overstaffed and asked that raises be looked at at a later time. Maybe a good idea to wait, maybe not? Athough, it should be noted that Mr Limon (the good Christian man) did give a select few raises ranging from $1.00-$1.50/hr…which may not seem like much money but when you calculate that over a year span, it equates to $3,000 plus. And if I recall correctly, teachers have never been awarded more than $1,500 raise (and that’s if they’ve ever even been that fortunate). Mr Limon sure seems to have his ‘favorites’ identified because among those getting a raise was one of the Board member’s boyfriend who’s since resigned. Compadrismo at it’s finest!

        • Triple P on September 1, 2014 at 2:37 pm
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        fingers can always be point-ed in both direction. ironically, its point-less.

        you say “Mr Limon sure seems to have his ‘favorites’ identified because among those getting a raise was one of the Board member’s boyfriend who’s since resigned. Compadrismo at it’s finest!” and they say: jobs, raises, and positions were given out left and right to “compadres” under the previous board’s control while limon was suspended. do not forget that limon’s power was taken away from him. limon (as did the 2 interims) can advise but, ultimately, the school board has the final say. (just on example – who is the superintendent’s secretary related to? who appointed her?)

        the finger point-ing goes on and on.

    • Poor Leadership on August 28, 2014 at 12:21 pm
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    This Board beginning with Super Arnold has become a major joke. When the Board President openly states, we are over staff, and than turns around and votes in favor of Anna Cruz’s $800k plus program( which includes hiring 13 more teachers/staff)does that make any sense. Arnold is nothing but a puppet and hypocrite. its very apparent his trying to satisfy everyone with his misleading statements to the media ,and flat out lying to the community. Remember Arnold, you brought back lemon and he turned around and brought back all his high paid cronies. TASB proved it and exposed them as well. So, Thank you to the previous majority who pushed for TASB to conduct this audit at the dismay of a lot people because it would expose all the political favors that have been going on for years. I totally agree, Anna Cruz must go 2015!!!!

    • Only Two on August 27, 2014 at 9:19 pm
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    He sure has learned the “dance” alright.

    • Linda on August 27, 2014 at 2:44 pm
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    We have lost many, many teachers this year. No wonder why. Teachers and the support staff SHOULD GET A PAY ADJUSTMENT.
    Mr. Padilla, last time I checked their were 7 board members. If you and your “new” friends want to stop all this over staffing then tell your board member friends, they should have done that years ago. Only you and Mendez are new, lest we forget.

    • Juan on August 27, 2014 at 10:45 am
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    Another “special meeting”,we all know what that means.

      • Uncle Sugar on August 27, 2014 at 12:13 pm
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      King Arnold will be doing his dance.

    • Uncle Sugar on August 26, 2014 at 10:10 pm
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    Overstaffed?? Surely you jest! SBCISD?? I CAN’T believe it! NOT HERE! NO way, Jose.


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