AUSTIN (KXAN) — Del Valle Independent School District welcomes its students back with a brand new $69 million campus for students and a 6% raise for staff.

The new building has lots of learning spaces, flexible seating, a robotics lab, science lab and many more features. Now, it’s ready for students to step on campus.

It was all paid for by a 2019 bond.

This year, Del Valle ISD has put in place a 6% pay raise for all its staff.

The district’s starting salary for teachers is now $58,000 a year, with the chance to earn a $1,000 stipend that comes with completing a professional development plan.

This gives Del Valle ISD the highest starting salary for teachers in the Central Texas area.

The district’s superintendent Dr. Annette Tielle, said she hopes this makes it a destination district for educators throughout the state.

“It is difficult for them to be able to afford housing. In order for them to be able to stay in the district, it was important for us to keep up with inflation. So that was really the impetus last year, to determine how to come up with that 6% raise,” Tielle said.

Sandra Zills, a teacher at Gilbert Elementary, expressed gratitude for the raise.

“People say you know, teachers don’t do it for the money and that’s true. We also have to make a living too,” Gilbert said. “So, I’m really thankful to work for a district that will really make sure that they take care of their teachers.”

As of Wednesday morning, the district has 97% of its positions filled for the school year. Much of this can be credited to its pipeline program for student teachers, which offers college seniors $3,500 to train as a teacher on campus.

Then, they are offered an additional $3,500 to take a position in the district once they’ve earned a teaching certificate.

Of the 50 college students who participated in the program last year, half are now working as full-time teachers in Del Valle ISD.

To comply with a new state law that requires school districts to have an armed officer on every campus, the district will spend $1.1 million to hire 10 employees.