KELLER - Despite the ongoing budget crunch, Keller trustees voted Thursday night to approve across-the-board raises for all employees.
School district officials estimate the cost at $4.5 million.
"We value each and every employee in this district and want them to be compensated fairly," Trustee Lara Lee Hogg said.
Only a handful of employees whose job duties had changed received raises during the 2011-12 budget year. Teachers received salary step increases in 2010, and administrators and most support personnel have not had raises in three years.
Most employees are receiving 3 percent raises based on the midpoint of the salary schedule. Depending on years of experience, teacher raises range from less than $1,000 to more than $1,300. Officials are also raising starting salaries to keep the schedule consistent. Beginning teachers will get $47,000, a $1,000 increase.
Penny Benz, assistant superintendent of human resources, said the Keller school district was slipping compared with salaries in surrounding districts, especially with administrators and support staff. The district was losing out on good candidates who could earn more elsewhere, she said.
Larry West, regional manager for the United Educators Association, said the raises show Keller's commitment to keeping salaries competitive.
On Aug. 30, trustees are scheduled to vote on a budget with an estimated $12 million deficit. Officials plan to dig into savings to make up the difference.