AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Independent School District discussed several proposed changes to the next school year during a press conference on Monday, including changes to class schedules and a possible pay raise for teachers.
The district had previously proposed several changes to the class schedule, including the creation of a master schedule on the secondary level. This would outline seven classes per day, six of which would be led by a teacher. This proposal was different from the current block schedule format, in which that there are four different classes on “A” and “B” days.
After receiving feedback from families and staff, the district said it would maintain its eight-period A/B block schedule. The schedule would have an A/B schedule for four days and one day with a straight eight-period schedule. This format is what most secondary schools are already doing, according to AISD.
The district also said it would propose one hour of early release for staff to have “common planning time.” Elementary and secondary teachers would also have “common planning time” built into their day.
Some parents and students let out a sigh of relief on Monday.
“We’re just coming back to in-person school, and we’re getting used to it again,” Austin High School student Iliana Aquino said.
AISD also outlined pay raises in the 2022-23 budget, which would include increasing the minimum wage to $16 an hour for classified employees, such as custodians and cafeteria aids. The district also proposes increasing teacher pay by 2% of the pay scale and an additional $1,000.
All of these changes are expected to help with teacher vacancies and a shortage of substitutes, saving $21 million.
“A lot of this has to do with us supporting the campuses in the early development of their master schedules, so we get the teachers in the right place at the right time,” AISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said.
To address the district’s $62 million budget deficit, the district also proposed cutting jobs at the central office in order to offer more pay for teachers. According to Elizalde, this will mainly affect positions that are already vacant.
Elizalde said principals are gathering Wednesday to discuss the schedule changes.
“While we’re still far away from June, when the board would be taking action on our budget. It’s important right now, because of the pandemic and everything that’s happened, that we communicate as much as we can,” Elizalde said.