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AISD Responds To Pay Increase To Its Top Earners
Startling new numbers from the Austin Independent School District show a 63 percent increase of district employees who make $100,000 or more in the last five years. This, as KEYE TV has reported on major cutbacks for that district and a recent reduction in force.
AISD is also asking voters to approve a new $900 million bond proposal.
We went to AISD headquarters to ask why more employees than ever before are getting a bump in pay to make more than $100,000 a year.
"The demand on a person's time and skill set is pretty significant in this district," said Michael Houser, the district's Chief Human Capital Officer.
Houser said the increase is mostly due to a three percent district-wide raise the board approved last year, after two years of a salary freeze.
Houser told us it brought about 20 principal's salaries up from the upper 90's to over $100,000.
"It wasn't uncommon for us to lose a quarter or one-third of our school principals every year to neighboring school districts," he explained. "They can stay at their house and just drive in a different direction to get a significant pay increase."
We checked the numbers. The average salary for an AISD principal is about $113,000. While Eanes and Lake Travis school districts pay more than $130,000.
Some districts, however, like Hays, Leander and Pflugerville pay less than AISD at just over $100,000.
"We're third or fourth fifth in most markets," Houser said about the principal pay. "Our administrative structure is also the leanest in the state and the amount of people who do administrative work are a very, very small amount of people in a large system."
Right now, 70 of the districts nearly 12,000 employees are paid $100,000 or more.
Houser said he is not planning on making any changes to staff salaries.
So, how will voters feel about the district asking for approval of $900 million bond package? We have a camera crew in South Austin where the school board invited the public to voice their concerns. We'll bring you a live report with voters' reactions and how your money would be spent, Tuesday night on KEYE TV at 10 p.m.
By Katherine Stolp