To help address staffing shortages with some of its instructional support staff, the Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees voted Monday to increase the pay for those employees.
Effective immediately there will be a $1,200 retroactive annual salary increase for special education instructional support aides for the following staff: academic life skills, academic and vocational life skills, behavior intervention classroom and functional life skills, as well as communication aide and transition aide.
The district will also review past experience of those staff members and provide work credit not previously recognized and increase the salary budget by an approximate $50,000.
According to the district there are 18 instructional support vacancies, mostly in special education.
“Since the beginning of the school year we've had a number of positions in special education that have not been filled or took a long time to fill,” said Buddy Bonner, assistant superintendent of employee services. “Of course that's had an impact on the classroom and the special education program.”
Bonner said the difficulties in filling these positions are directly related to the labor market.
“The unemployment rate is the lowest it's been … you see 3.6 to 3.7 to 3.8 percent,” Bonner said after the meeting. “So there's a labor shortage.”
He also said these are tough jobs, which also makes them hard to fill.
According to the district, officials in other districts in the region have indicated they have had similar struggles of keeping those positions filled and that salary is a primary reason why.
The district also said employees who leave LISD have indicated that salary was among the top reasons.
Superintendent Kevin Rogers showed his appreciation to the board members for what they've already done to help instructional aides.
“You've already graciously the last two years given these folks a higher rate than anyone else in our district,” Rogers said. “It's important to reach out and find ways to compensate these folks who do an incredible job.”
Bonner said the approval raises the salary budget to $302,400. He said this puts LISD's pay grade to 120 percent of the market, which he said is comparable to surrounding districts.