Gonzales ISD board of trustees approves raises

New high school principal announced


Gonzales Independent School District (GISD) board of directors voted to invest more than $1 million into employee compensation. The decision was made at the school board meeting Monday, July 8, after some discussion on how much money the district will be receiving from the newly-signed into law Texas House Bill 3. 

HB3 is meant to provide additional school financing for districts around the state. GISD Chief Financial Officer Amanda Smith said GISD stands to gain around $3 million in additional revenue over where the district was at in the 2018-19 school year. That additional money is contingent on the district complying with the requirements of the bill such as using 30 percent of that money toward increase compensation toward non-administrative, full-time employees. 

With the addition of that revenue, administrators presented the following plan of pay raises:

  • Teacher, nurses, librarians and counselors with less than six years of experience: 
    • Average of $3,400 or 8 percent pay raise
  • Teacher, nurses, librarians and counselors with more than six years of experience: 
    • Average of $3,900 or 8 percent pay raise
  • Professionals:
    • $3,000/annually
  • Administrators:
    • $2,500/annually
  • Paraprofessional, clerical and manual trade employees:
    • $700/annually
  • Bus drivers:
    • $900/annually

“I know over the course of the legislation, I’ve personally heard them throw out $10,000 raises for teachers, then it was $5,000, then it was $4,000, but what actually came about when this law was passed actually means is it varies district to district,” Smith said. “Some districts might possibly not be able to give raises at all. GISD is fortunate in this respect.”

With the raise amount decision, administrators believe they found a middle ground between missing the mark on the percentage required to receive funding from the bill and risking salary becoming an unsustainable expenditure in the coming years.  

There are still some components of HB3 that haven’t been finalized, so GISD administrators are expecting to adjust on the fly.

“Because there are some things that remain unfinished,” Smith warned, “we can expect a lot more budget amendments this year than what we’re used to, but we’ll bring those back to action just as soon as we get more information on that.”

With that, there’s a chance pay raises are increased later during the school year.

“We will be recommending, when we actually get to that action item on the agenda, that we leave the window open to adjust compensation upward later into the school year as new information comes about related to House Bill 3, just in case we did not miss that mark,” Smith said.

New GHS principal announced

Gonzales High School is transitioning back to one, united campus under one principal. On Monday, the GISD board of trustees accepted Michael Garza as Gonzales High School’s lone principal.

“All the research on when there’s mergers of big companies, they fail immediately if they keep the two bosses,” GISD Superintendent John Schumacher said. “It’s not the most productive way. It would be like trying to have two superintendents. You need to have somebody who is going to be the leader, the one they go to. Even with [former Gonzales ISD Superintendent] Dr. [Kim] Strozier, when we talked about it, she realized it didn’t work. It’s too hard to communicate within the same building, you just have some conflicts there that happen.

“It’s going to be one principal and they’re going to be in charge of making sure the education process runs correctly,” Schumacher added. “He’ll have three [assistant principals] to get it done.”

The job duties of each of the assistant principals will be determined by the new, incoming principal, according to Schumacher. 

“We’ll sit down, and we’ll discuss what’s the best way,” he said. “But that’s going to be his job, to determine what that’s going to be.”

Other action items passed

In other news, the following items were passed unanimously by the board:

  • Consent Agenda: Minutes of meetings June 10 (regular meeting) and June 17 (special meeting) and some budget amendments
  • Set the date for the public meeting on the 2019-20 proposed budget and tax rate for Monday, Aug. 12 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Made changes to the 2019-20 calendar:
    • Added a half day on Nov. 7 for a football game and the need for two additional teacher work days due to HB3
    • The district also placed two comp days on Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. This will still give students the full week off and will allow the teachers to have the full week off if the comp time is earned.
  • Added Superintendent John Schumacher to the list of authorized representatives for Lone Star Investment Pool
  • Approve the publication of the proposed tax rates at $1.044 M&O and $0.1072 for I&S in the local newspaper no earlier than 30 days prior to the meeting nor later than 10 days prior to the meeting at which the public hearing will be held
  • Renew the district’s property and casualty insurance coverage with PCAT for a three-year term
  • Approve the trip for the Gonzales High School band to Disney World/Universal Studios in Florida on May 31 – June 4. The band will be participating in an educational clinic workshop under the guidance of an experienced Disney teaching artist. The trip is student paid with the band undergoing fundraising efforts to pay for trip.