Austin ISD budget to cut hundreds of jobs, increase teacher and staff pay

Under Austin ISD's proposed 2022-2023, raises are on the way, if approved.

"For classified staff including custodial and food service workers, they would see an increase to their minimum wage. Our teachers would be expecting two percent increases at their midpoint and a $1,000 bonus," said Eduardo Villa, spokesperson, Austin ISD.

They are also cutting hundreds of jobs along the way, more than 600.

"We are cutting staff at our central office. Campus staff, teachers, everybody serving students directly are not being affected by these cuts," said Villa.

Ken Zarifis is head of the AISD teachers and employees' union. He feels even cuts at their central office will trickle down back into the classroom.

"We are seeing supports around special education being cut away, around libraries being cut away, that's not good. We want to see our cuts come from the outside which is the furthest away from kids, and that is upper administration," said Zarifis.

The district said the cuts are happening, in part, because of a behemoth of a recapture payment that's due.

"The biggest challenge with our budget is paying the biggest recapture payment in the state. So a lot of that has always been scrambling around being creative to find that money. Next school year we are expected to pay back even more to the state and that is nearly $800 million," said Villa.

Schools in Texas are funded by both state and local funding. That local funding comes from property tax payments. Recapture payments were created to make sure school districts across the state are equitably funded.

"Wealthy school districts send some of their property tax revenue to the state and the state distributes that to the poorer school districts. That payment is called recapture," said Mark Wiggins, lobbyist, Association of Texas Professional Educators.

This is not all set in stone just yet. The board of trustees will review the budget at Thursday's meeting. The new balanced budget, which is being done for the first time in a decade, could be approved by June.

Austin ISD could eliminate over 600 jobs to increase teacher, staff pay
Austin ISD pays more than $700M in recapture payments for 2020-21
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