KILLEEN, Texas – Killeen ISD School Board Trustees approved a 3.5 percent general pay increase for all employees in a meeting Tuesday night.

“Texas teachers, and especially the hourly employees or what we call the education support professionals, have been underpaid for years,” says Killeen Educator Association President Rick Beaule.

Beaule is hoping this proposal will compensate teachers for their professional work.

“Right now, 27 percent of the teachers, that’s nearly one out of three, are thinking about leaving their profession,” says Beaule.

Beaule says it isn’t just the teachers who deserve more pay – but also education support staff.

“Without them, we wouldn’t have the kids fed. We would not have them bused to the school, not have clean rooms, and we would not have buildings in good repairs to be able to teach the children in,” says Beaule.

This school year has been a difficult one, as the district didn’t see a pay raise last year because of COVID-19. With the proposal, new teachers’ starting pay will rise to the $52,000 a year instead of $50,000.

“It’s very important that teachers and educators are recognized and rewarded for their professionalism and dedication that they have shown throughout this pandemic,” says Beaule.

Beaule says previous proposals benefited the teachers more than the hourly employees, and it should be corrected. The Board of Trustees voted in favor for the compensation pay, which includes a 3.5 percent general pay for all employees for the 2021-2022 school year.

“The minimum wage index for Killeen is 12.86 to be able to live on a wage, and there are some folks that are still making the minimum wage of 7.25, which is no way you can just live on that and just work one job,” says Beaule.

Current and future employees could also receive up to an additional $1,000 this month with a proposed Recruit, Retain, Retire Notification Incentive. Employees who electronically sign their contract/letter of reasonable assurance to work for Killeen ISD next year by May 19th would receive a one-time check.

The proposal would also apply to new employees hired for the 2021-2022 school year, and to current employees who inform the district of their intention to retire by June 2, 2021.