Updated to indicate that state-mandated "step raises" will be included in the budget.
There won't be any raises for employees of the Houston ISD the next school year.
Houston ISD trustees adopted a 2010-11 budget totaling $1.613 billion Thursday night that Chief Financial Officer Melinda Garrett termed a "survival" budget, adding that work on the next year's budget should start immediately. The vote was unanimous with Larry Marshall and Harvin Moore absent from the meeting.
The tax rate of $1.1567 will not change from this year. Teachers will have to forego any raises, but Superintendent Terry Grier said there will be no effect on monies already allocated to schools for instruction.
HISD still has the lowest tax rate in Harris County.
Both Grier and trustee Paula Harris pointed out that as much as they'd like to give out raises, particularly for the lowest-paid workers, it would be worse to add to budget problems and perhaps end up cutting people.
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A plea was made to do away with the teacher bonus system, but Harris said that is used to attract the "best and the brightest" to the district.
The school year will move from 175 days to 180 days.
Trustee Manuel Rodriguez asked if anything had been done to look at energy efficiencies in the district's buildings. Garrett said there was a position designated for an energy manager but it had never been filled.
Update: Even though all the talk was about "no raises" at Thursday's meeting, actually some HISD employees will be receiving so-called step raises, mandated and funded by the state during the last legislative session, based upon the employees' years of service.