Some big news from San Antonio’s largest school district. This week the Northside Independent School District voted to increase the starting pay for beginning teachers to over $50,000 a year. By way of comparison, the minimum salary schedule for those who are just beginning their careers it’s about $28,000. And the minimum salary across Texas for teachers with 20 years of experience? $45,000. Pascual Gonzalez, the district’s executive director of communications, answers the Texas Standard’s questions about this historic pay raise.
Why did NISD decide to pay starting teachers an amount well over the minimum scale for teachers 20 years into the profession?
“We believe teachers ought to be paid a very competitive and a very fair salary. This is our attempt to get them there,” Gonzalez says. “[We’re] considered the destination district in Bexar County, in San Antonio, because half of the growth in this county is in Northside ISD. We want this not just to be the destination district for families and kids but we also want it to be the destination district for people looking for a job and this is a high quality place to work.
Northside Independent School District is planning for an increase of over 2,000 students in the next academic year. How are you dealing with it? Is it hard to find teachers to accommodate the student growth?
“People flock to our human resources department to apply for jobs here,” Gonzalez says. “In fact, this school year right now we are in the middle of hiring 800 new teachers.”
Gonzalez on his starting salary: “When I was 22 years old and right out of college I was happy to get a job at Northside ISD…. I maybe grossed $1,000 a month way back when.”
This increase in pay seems like a new step forward for teacher compensation. Do you think other school districts will follow suit?
“Recall that many college graduates that are entering the various professions demand that type of compensation,” Gonzalez says. “That is what they’re looking for. Although in teaching, as we say, it’s not just about the money — you have to have the heart. But, the practicality of it is that you have to be compensated well so that you can continue to provide inspiration for the children that you serve.”