AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Former Burnet Middle School teacher and Education Austin President Ken Zarifis says he remembers a dark time for the Austin ISD. “When I came into office nine years ago, the state cut five and a half billion dollars, now we are putting some of that back,” said Zarifis.
Putting some of that back into the wallets of teachers, and staff across the board. The district announced Thursday, with the passage of HB 3, AISD can now pay their teachers and staff more money. It is a permanent pay raise.
“It's a 6 percent increase to their actual pay. For teachers with more than five years of experience, it's a 7 percent increase in their pay,” said Dr. Paul Cruz, superintendent.
The new law adds funding to other areas of education as well.
“There will be additional pay for serving students with dyslexia. There's also pay for students in a dual language program, whether they are English language learners or not,” said Cruz.
The district says they allocated $48 million to put back into compensation. It’s compensation that affects the future of not only the adults, but also the kids.
“Students don't succeed just because they go into a classroom. Students succeed because of the support they receive as they come to school, as they enter the school, as they get taught during the school day, they eat during the school day, after school program."
This pay increase will be for everyone from the teachers to the custodians, to the bus drivers.
“They are the first classroom the kids step into. It's the first teacher our children have. They help to set the tone for the day and they're often forgotten or marginalized. We need to lift them up and recognize the great work they do,” said Zarifis.
Advocates have been campaigning, knocking on doors, and fighting for this legislation for years.
They believe to see it finally come to fruition, was worth the hard work