The Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustees approved a compensation plan for 2019-20 that will provide a historical increase in pay for every district staff member.

Teachers will see an average increase in salary of $5,847, while the starting salary for first-year teachers will increase to $51,000 — up $4,710 from this past school year.

Paraprofessional support and auxiliary staff will receive a 5.5 percent pay increase, while administrators will receive a two percent pay increase.

Trustee John Rogers attributed the pay increases to politicians like State Rep. John Wray and Gov. Gregg Abbott, who signed House Bill 3 that provided "the financial boost we needed to make this happen."

House Bill 3 is a significant school reform bill that seeks to direct billions of additional dollars to public education.

"We are appreciative of the board's commitment to recruiting and retaining the best talent for our students, and we know competitive compensation is a big part of that," said Waxahachie ISD superintendent Dr. Bonny Cain. "The trustees' enthusiasm and excitement in being able to approve this for our employees underscores that commitment."

Trustee Kim Kriegel noted on her Facebook that — under the newly approved salary scale — the more experience a teacher, nurse or counselor has, the more significant the raise would be.

Kriegel explained that when she began teaching for WISD in 1982, her base pay was $11,100. She then expressed the approved agenda item was "the biggest raise in WISD history."

She added, "I have attended board meetings for over 20 years and believe me, our teachers have never received a raise of this historic amount."

Kriegel went on the thank Cain and Ryan Khalden, assistant superintendent for business and finance.

In the five years that Jenny Bridges has served as WISD Director of Communications, she said she has never seen a pay increase this significant for teachers. She noted the 5.5 percent raise for paraprofessionals and the 2 percent raise for administrators had been done before.

Board president Dusty Autrey told the Daily Light that recruiting and retaining the absolute best educators is a priority for the district.

"Being able to provide this type of compensation for all district employees shows the district's commitment to our current and future employees," Autrey stated in an email. "I would also add that personally, this is the most important decision this current board has made as a group."

Autrey commended Cain, Khalden and the entire administration who worked tirelessly on providing this raise for WISD employees.