Pay raises for teachers and other employees will account for more than half of Fort Worth ISD’s estimated $45 million deficit for next school year, according to officials.

Administrators on June 13 presented their plans to the school board for a compensation package that they say will keep Fort Worth ISD’s salaries competitive with other North Texas districts. At the same time, the district is betting on a special session of the Texas Legislature for lawmakers to increase funding for public schools to provide teacher raises.

“We’re acting in good faith that they will move forward,” Raúl Peña, chief talent officer, told trustees.

Peña proposed a compensation package that calls for a new starting salary of $62,000 for teachers and a general pay increase of $1,925 for more experienced educators. The starting salary for the 2022-23 school year was $60,000.

The proposal also includes a pay raise for employees other than teachers. However, the school board has two options: a 3% raise to all other employees or a 2% raise for executive-level employees and a 3% bump for everyone else.

Other parts of the proposed compensation package include:

  • Adjust stipends for special education certification, transcribers for deaf students, interpreter for deaf students and teachers in charge of their school’s yearbook.
  • Honor years of work experience for employees like nurses and tradesmen who did not previously work in a school district.
  • Changes to extra benefits for employees.

If trustees choose an overall 3% raise, the package is expected to cost $23.2 million. If trustees pick the 2% raise for executives, the proposal is $23.1 million. The difference is $115,488.

School board member Anne Darr was glad to see the district recognize the relevant experience for more technical workers.

The proposed budget for the 2023-24 school year calls for $846.8 million in spending and has $801.5 million in revenue. The budget is not balanced.

“We made it a focus to get to a balanced budget, but obviously, we did not. It continues to be a focus,” Chief Financial Officer Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria said.

The school board is scheduled to consider adopting the budget on June 27.

Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise reporter for the Fort Worth Report. His work has appeared in the Temple Daily Telegram, The Texas Tribune and the Texas Observer. He is a graduate of St. Edward’s University....