February 26, 2013

Fort Worth school district hopes to give 3 percent raises

Trustees vote to make the pay increase a budget priority.

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FORT WORTH -- Fort Worth school district officials say they hope to give employees a 3 percent pay raise next year.

The nine-member school board voted Tuesday to agree to a set of financial parameters that administrators use as they build the fiscal 2013-14 budget. Among the budget priorities is funding to give workers a salary boost for next year.

A vote on a final budget is to take place on June 25. The fiscal year ends June 30. The school district could not afford employee pay raises for 2012-13. Instead, employees got a one-time payment equal to 1 percent of their base pay for 2012-13.

Administrators are recommending that for 2013-14, the school district would roll that payment into the permanent salary schedule for next year. And on top of that, employees could get an additional 2 percent salary increase.

If approved, the pay raises would cost $9.7 million, with funds coming from the district's general fund, said Hank Johnson, the school district's deputy superintendent of business, finance and operations.

Trustees have expressed concern that Fort Worth employees have gone without pay raises for two years, saying that it could hamper the district's ability to attract and retain high-quality staffers. They want the school district to offer compensation that is competitive with neighboring school districts.

In other business: A measure on whether to move surplus money from one budget category to another, which would allow administrators to go forward with a purchase order for the district's new student information system, was defeated by a vote of 4 to 4. A tie vote causes the measure to fail. Trustee T.A. Sims was absent.

But administrators told trustees that delaying the purchase until the board's March 26 meeting would affect course scheduling for about 40,000 students. The district is replacing another student data software system that had a series of problems, including producing inaccurate transcripts, incomplete grade reports and incorrect attendance records.

After a brief recess, trustees voted a second time to reconsider the issue, and the budget amendment passed 8 to 0.

The board met behind closed doors to continue its performance evaluation of Superintendent Walter Dansby.

Jessamy Brown, 817-390-7326

Twitter: @jessamybrown

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