Gilbert school teachers could see their pay increase an average of $1,500 next year thanks to a jump in sales tax revenues and a decision this week by the governing board.
The board approved the Gilbert Unified School District budget Tuesday night, and with it, gave certified staff a 2 percent pay increase through a stipend to be spread out in two payments next school year. With the average Gilbert teacher earning $43,800 a year, the stipend payout comes to about $876.
“We want to give those funds in order to remain competitive with surrounding districts and to reward teachers who have stuck with us,” through the past few years of budget cuts, said board president E.J. Anderson.
The district has had to cut $37 million over the last few years as state lawmakers have decreased the amount of funding to education because of declining state revenues.
Superintendent Dave Allison has proposed that the salary increase become permanent — or part of the staff salary schedule — if voters approve renewal of the district’s maintenance and operations budget override in November.
Teachers will also see an additional $625 from the state’s voter-approved pay-for-performance plan. That money, passed in 2000 under Proposition 301, is funded through a state sales tax. The total payout to teachers in 2012-13 will be $2,457.
That fund dropped drastically when Arizona’s economy declined, but it is making a recovery, leading to the additional funds for educators. Last year, teachers received $1,832 in Prop. 301 funds.
The Gilbert district requires goals be attained by teachers — in the areas of academics, knowledge and skills, and measurements — in order for that money to be given.
But, “most, if not all, teachers” receive those funds, said Teddy Dumlao, director of finance for the district.
Other East Valley school districts have proposed or approved salary increases for teachers, including Mesa, Higley and Chandler unified school districts. Many had kept salaries frozen during the recession.
The Gilbert pay increases were approved in the budget passed by the governing board with a 4-1 vote.
The $305.9 million budget includes $204.3 million for the maintenance and operations budget, which mostly funds employee benefits and salaries.
According to the district, 62 percent of next year’s budget will go into classrooms, a 1 percent increase from the current school year.
Only board member Staci Burk voted against the measure.
A public hearing will be held in July prior to the board adopting the final budget for next school year.
The 2012-2013 budget includes about $17 million in voter-approved override dollars. Should the public not approve the measure when it is on the ballot in November, the district will be forced to cut one-third of it during the 2013-14 school year, in addition to the following two school years.
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